Barnard Castle School is a co-educational independent day and boarding school in the market town of Barnard Castle, County Durham, in the North East of England. It is a member of The Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference (HMC). It was founded in 1883 . One of the North East's most famous schools, Barnard Castle is set in its own 50-acre grounds on the edge of town. The school caters for pupils aged 4 to 18, with pupils younger than 11 being taught in a separate on-site preparatory school (Prep School). The original building is now used mainly for accommodation and administration. It also contains the dining hall and "Big School", public school slang for the school hall. All teaching is undertaken in purpose-built classrooms. The school site contains tennis/netball courts, squash courts, a large sports hall and an AstroTurf pitch. A total of £3 million has been invested in the school's infrastructure since 2008, including a £1.5 million Physics and ICT block, a new hall for the Prep School and a new sports pavilion containing a gym and a dance studio. The school has been used as a filming location for the television sketch show The Fast Show. The state of the art Sixth Form Centre opened in 2015 and provides a unique learning environment for our most senior students. The Prep School has access to all of the facilities of the senior school. It is situated in a separate area of the school grounds with its own organisation, staff and buildings. The school is sited around a main building called Westwick Lodge, "a sprawling Victorian villa with the modern dormitories and classroom block hidden at the rear. Youngest boarders in Year 3.
The houses form the basis for much competition within the school. The first competition in the school year is the House Singing Competition in which every member of the school takes part. Thereafter, throughout the school year, the houses compete against each other in a variety of academic, artistic, and sporting events. An extensive range of almost 100 after-school activities are offered throughout the year, such as The Duke of Edinburgh's Award scheme up to Gold level.