Who We Are
Polam Hall School was founded in 1848 as a small finishing school for girls. It was first set up and run by Quakers who believed in the importance of realising every girl’s potential, whatever her strengths; and valuing her talents, whatever they be.
The Proctor Sisters, Jane and Elizabeth, set up their school in the centre of Darlington, at Number 11 Houndgate, but a thriving school needed more space and so they moved to Polam Hall. Our main School building was once the private mansion of Jonathan Backhouse, founder of Barclays Bank, but has remained at the centre of school life since 1854.
In 2004 boys joined our Sixth Form and in 2010, with the closure of the nearby boys’ school, Hurworth House, Polam Hall became fully co-educational. In September 2015 Polam Hall became a Free School and in April 2017 joined Woodard Academies Trust.
Our primary phase – the Junior School – is two form entry. At secondary – in the Senior School – we expand to three forms. We also have a boarding house on site and admit boarders into Years 7 to 11.
Although our school has changed in shape and size, the same fundamental ethos remains. Indeed, it is the original Quaker values that continue to influence our school’s vision and values – and our school motto ‘Concordia Crescimus’ applies as much today as ever.
Our Learner Profile describes the four core traits which we seek to develop in all our pupils: Confidence, Creativity, Curiosity and Community.
There have been many headstrong headmistresses who have steered Polam through the decades. All were visionaries and matriarchs who have, in turn, passed on a long-standing tradition of toasting ‘Polam and the future’. We think they would be proud of the school that we have become.