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Gordon's School

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Subject: Charles George Gordon, West End, Surrey, List of state boarding schools in England and Wales, Hugh Beach, Emily Ludolf, List of schools in Surrey
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Gordon's School

Gordon Boys Home
Motto Semper Fidelis
("Always faithful")
Established 1886
Type Voluntary aided academy
Day and boarding school
Religion Christian
Headmaster Andrew Moss
Chair Pam Clarke
Founder by public subscription, at the express wish of Queen Victoria, as the National Memorial to General Gordon

West End Woking
GU24 9PT
England Coordinates: 51°20′37″N 0°38′47″W / 51.3435°N 0.6465°W / 51.3435; -0.6465

Local authority Surrey
DfE URN Ofsted Reports
Staff 100(approx)
Students 542 (approx.) (650 if sixth form included - see age range below)
Gender Mixed
Ages 11–18
Houses Boarding Houses: 4 Day Boarding Houses 5

Green & Yellow

Affiliation Gordon Foundation an independent charitable trust established in 1888
Patron Reigning Monarch of the United Kingdom

Gordon's School is a voluntary-aided secondary school with academy status in Woking, Surrey. It was founded (originally as the Gordon Boys' School) in 1886 by public subscription as a memorial to Gordon of Khartoum, and officer of the Corps of Royal Engineers, who was killed in 1885. The school website claims that the idea came from Queen Victoria, who was its first patron. The reigning monarch has been patron ever since. Its first commandant was Colonel Henry Tyndall, CB, 2nd Punjab Infantry and its first home was Fort Wallingford.


Gordon's School was established in West End near Woking in Surrey. Gordon's was initially a home for underprivileged boys, but it quickly became a boys' boarding school. In 1888, the Gordon Foundation was established as an independent charitable trust to administer the school. In 1990 the first girls were admitted.[1] Gordon's is now a voluntary aided, comprehensive school for boys and girls, and the pupils are a mixture of full and weekly boarders (judged outstanding in all categories of boarding by Ofsted in 2013) and day pupils. Some two thirds of the pupils are day boys and girls. Most of the boarders are from families in the armed forces (Ofsted Report 2007). Its voluntary aided status means that tuition is free, and fees are only paid for boarding, which makes them lower than the fees for fully independent boarding schools.

Pupils are divided into nine houses named after places of particular relevance to General Gordon:

  • For girls - Augusta (full/weekly/day), China (day), Kensington (day), Windsor (full/weekly/day)
  • For boys - Balmoral (full/weekly), Buckingham (day), Gravesend (day), Khartoum (day), Sandringham (full/weekly)

League Tables

From 1997 - 2000, Gordon's was in the top twenty most improved schools list published by the government in its yearly school performance tables. Gordon's is the only school in Britain to have achieved this feat four years in a row.

From 1999 - 2011, Gordon's has been in the top twenty non-selective state schools in Britain in the yearly government league tables.


In the 2005 New Year's Honours List, the ex-headmaster Denis Mulkerrin was made a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) for Services to Education. [2]


One of the greatest aspects of Gordons School is sport; credit is owed to all of the sporting staff who help with organising fixtures, training the players and officiating at the games. Gordon's organises a period 6 activity which is after school between 4 pm and 5 pm. Every student up to Year 11 has to participate and can choose between numerous activities ranging from all sports to activities such as ICT and bowling. There is also a Saturday Morning School for two hours.

Gordon's undertakes one term of Rugby, one of Football and one of Athletics/Cricket. (boys)

Gordon's undertakes one term of Netball, one of Hockey and one of Athletics/Rounders. (girls)


Gordon’s has its own heated indoor swimming pool, much appreciated by the boarders and day pupils alike, a gym, a purpose built fitness centre, equipped with two Olympic weight lifting bars, one used for bench press, a sport which dominates boy's lives from the moment they reach the age permitted to use the weight systems in the gym, and sport adored by the school's former headmaster, Denis Mulkerrin, a former weightlifting commonwealth standard coach. The school also benefits from a 25 metre shooting range, as well as facilities for tennis, netball and orienteering.

The 'Parade Square', to the front of the school, accommodates netball and of course the Ceremonial Parades that traditionally take place monthly, led by the Head Boy or Head Girl. There are over 40 acres (160,000 m2) of playing fields complete with cricket nets and athletics track. There is a house to the rear of the school, annexed to the Headmaster's House, home to four boys from the school's Sixth Form. The flat has parking space provided, a garage and is located adjacent to the A322. It is also only a short walk away from the school Medical Centre.

Notable activities

The school holds regular ceremonial parades that take place on Sundays, these stem back to the school's traditional military roots. Pupils practice marching during the week, rarely the head of each house oversees the drill session, typically it is the houses representative of House Captain, that leads the house onto the parade square for practices and ceremonial parades; especially in the lead up to Drill Competition - an annual display of marching whereby houses compete with each other. The prize is the highly prized Longmoor Cup. (Notably, in 2009 the competition was split into two; with a boy's and a girl's cup. The boy's cup went to Sandringham House and the girl's cup went to Kensington. The appearance of pupils is assessed prior to each house's outing in the competition, areas of scrutiny include; i) The Polishing of Parade Shoes, ii) Tidiness of Ceremonial Blues (the school's Parade Uniform), iii) Correct alignment of uniform. There are also frequent inter-house competitions, separate between the boys and girls houses. The Boys compete in football, rugby, cricket, swimming and athletics. The girls compete in rounders, netball, hockey, swimming and athletics. The athletics sports day is the biggest school sporting event of the year, with huge support from athletes, parents and friends, making it a truly enjoyable and well contested event. At the end of the events, there is a Staff vs 6th Form vs Winning Year 11's 100m relay race.

Traditionally, Gordon's has competed annually in a Rugby Match against the Duke of York's School, Dover. This rivalry dates back over half a century; the First XV teams from respective schools would compete against each other, and each school would host the other, every other year. Before the sixth form was established in both schools, the match had always been contested by the Under 16 team of both schools, however the match is now a block fixture. In 2008, Gordon's won the first of many Under 19 fixtures between the two schools, by a score of 26-22.

In September 2007 a new science block was opened and cost an estimated £4 300 000. The block contains 4 science labs, 2 other class rooms with state-of-the-art IT Systems and also 2 self-contained flats for staff accommodation found on the third floor. Also a new drama and music block was opened; the drama department consists of two studios.

Pipes and Drum band

Gordons school has its very own marching band. It leads the parades that occur on Sundays. There are about 30 bag pipers, 10 snare drummers, 10 tenor drummers and 2 bass drummers. The school encourages students to join the band. Gordon's school takes pride in the band and it is a big tradition along with marching at the school. Every year the pipes and drums band takes part in events such as the Wentworth Ball and Lightwater Fete. Every year the school takes part in a Whitehall Parade. This is where the school marches down Whitehall in London and this is led by the entire band.


Students are encouraged to participate in Combined Cadet Forces training. When they reach Year 9 of the school, they have the option of taking up Army training, RAF training, or Royal Navy training. In Year 10, this training is compulsory and pupils must choose a section for the duration of the year. These training activities take place after normal lesson times, (termed as 'period six' - being the period after the fifth and final period of lessons during the day) and are usually held once a week. They begin at around 4pm and usually finish between 5:00 and 5:30 pm, after which students have dinner, followed by prep which commences at 6:00 pm and finishes at 7:30 pm. Staying for prep is optional for day pupils but recommended due to the supervision of various school tutors who are on hand to assist pupils.

Notable Gordonians


External links

  • School website
  • 2007 Ofsted Report
  • CCF RAF Section Website
  • Windsor House Website
  • Balmoral House Website
  • Gordon's School archives, 1885-2004

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