Gordon's School

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Gordon's School
Motto Semper Fidelis
("Always faithful")
Established 1885
Type Voluntary aided academy
Day and boarding school
Headmaster Andrew Moss
Chair Richard Whittington
Founder by public subscription, at the express wish of Queen Victoria, as the National Memorial to General Gordon
Location West End Woking
GU24 9PT
51°20′37″N 0°38′47″W / 51.3435°N 0.6465°W / 51.3435; -0.6465Coordinates: 51°20′37″N 0°38′47″W / 51.3435°N 0.6465°W / 51.3435; -0.6465
Local authority Surrey
DfE URN 139151 Tables
Ofsted Reports
Staff 100(approx)
Students 800 (approx.) (including Sixth Form - see age range below)
Gender Mixed
Ages 11–18
Houses 5 Day and 5 Residential Boarding

Green & Yellow

Affiliation Gordon Foundation an independent charitable trust established in 1888
Patron Reigning Monarch of the United Kingdom
Website www.gordons.surrey.sch.uk

Gordon's School is a voluntary-aided secondary school with academy status in West End near Woking, Surrey, England. It was founded as the Gordon Boys' Home in 1885 by public subscription as a National Memorial to Gordon of Khartoum, an 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 of the United Kingdom has been patron ever since. Its first commandant was Colonel Henry Tyndall, CB, 2nd Punjab Infantry and its first home was Fort Wallingford.

The School has extensive co-curricular options, and participates in events such as Model United Nations, Debate, and Enterprise. It has also begun hosting its own Model United Nations Conferences.


Gordon's began as 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 boarders. Some two thirds of the pupils are day boys and girls.

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

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

League tables[edit]

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

From 1999 - 2016, Gordon's has been in the top twenty non-selective state schools in Britain in the yearly government league tables.[citation needed]

In 2016 Gordon’s was ranked the 2nd highest achieving non-selective school in England by the Daily Telegraph.


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


Gordon's organises a period 7 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 Mandarin 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)

The school is affiliated with the Gordon's Old Boys football team, made up of ex-pupils. The team currently play in the Surrey and Hants Borders Football League.


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. 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.

Notable activities[edit]


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 for the girls and Talbot Cup for the boys. 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. Once a year students from the school, led by their Pipes and Drums Band, commemorate General Gordon's life by marching along Whitehall to the statue of General Gordon on the banks of the Thames at Victoria Embankment Gardens.


There are also frequent inter-house competitions, separate between the boys and girls houses. The Boys compete in football, rugby, hockey, cricket, rowing, swimming and athletics. The girls compete in rounders, netball, hockey, rowing, football, 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.

Patron's Cup

Gordon's has competed annually in a Rugby Match against the Royal Alexandra and Albert School, Surrey. 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. However, in 2011 the annual competition ended and was replaced with the Patrons Cup. This is played annually against the Royal Alexandra and Albert School.


In September 2007 a new science block was built and cost an estimated £4 300 000. The block contains four science labs, two other class rooms with state-of-the-art IT Systems and also two 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. In 2016, the Mcquillen Sixth Form house was converted into Victoria House.[3]

Pipes and Drums band[edit]

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 two 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 Lightwater Fete, Gordon's Supper and Summer Arts Evening. 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.[4]


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 seven' - being the period after the sixth and the end of the day) and are usually held once a week.

Period 7 and Prep[edit]

They begin at around 3:50 pm usually finish at 4:50pm, 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[edit]


  1. ^ History
  2. ^ Gordon's School
  3. ^ Personal experience
  4. ^ Personal experience

External links[edit]