School History

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 School has changed in shape and size since then, and now, of course, educates boys as well as girls, but this fundamental ethos remains. Indeed, it is these original Quaker values that have continued to influence the School’s vision as a Free School – and the School’s motto ‘Concordia Crescimus’ (‘We grow in harmony’) applies as much today as ever.

Polam Hall retains a strong sense of community and has always made an important contribution to local life. The School has an active calendar of charitable events, many of them organised and run by the students themselves.

The main School building – once the private mansion of Jonathan Backhouse, founder of Barclays Bank – houses a small museum amongst its offices and classrooms. Here, tribute is paid to the many headstrong headmistresses who’ve 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’.

Click here to read how Darlington's First Lady Councillor was educated at Polam Hall.