The Thomas Hardye School

The Thomas Hardye School
The Thomas Hardye School
Motto Scientia E Veritas
Specialisms Science, Humanities
Location Queen's Avenue
Local authority Dorset
DfE number ???/4615
DfE URN 113895
Ofsted Reports
Students 2270
Gender Coeducational
Ages 13–18
Former name Hardye's School

Coordinates: 50°42′30″N 2°27′13″W / 50.70838°N 2.45372°W / 50.70838; -2.45372

The Thomas Hardye School is a secondary school in Dorchester, Dorset. As part of a scheme run by the BBC and the British Council called Olympic Dreams, the school is twinned with The Doon School which India's first Olympic Gold Medalist Abhinav Bindra attended as a child.



It provides government funded education for children from Year 9 to Year 11. The school also has an integrated sixth form. This takes students through A-Levels and AVCEs. IB courses are also available and many students have found that the course is becoming more popular among their prospective universities with some offers being recently lowered.

Until the end of 2010, the school's headteacher was Dr Iain Melvin O.B.E, who had served for 22 years. The headteacher from September 2011 will be Mr Michael Foley.

The school is situated on the western edge of Dorchester, next to Thomas Hardye Leisure Centre.


The school currently has a CCF (Combined Cadet Force) that has been running for the last 100 years. The CCF has a large Army contingent as well as a smaller RAF section. They train regularly and compete on a national level. The Army contingent is cap-badged The Rifles and was formerly Devonshire and Dorset Regiment. The school inevitably produces many army (and navy) officers.

Aaron Cook (who represented Great Britain at the 2008 Olympics in taekwondo, losing in the bronze medal bout in the -80 kg class) also attended the school for years 9-10 but never completed his full education in order to concentrate fully on his Olympic dreams and preparations.


Grammar school

The school is named after a distant collateral ancestor of the author Thomas Hardy and Admiral Thomas Hardy; Thomas Hardy of Melcombe Regis and Frampton. Hardy was a property owner who endowed the Dorchester 'free' school in 1579, ten years after its completion by the town. His monument is on the south wall of St. Peter's Church. The Tudor grammar school offered free education to boys of the town and neighbourhood, and flourished under the Puritan regime of Revd. John White. It survived the doldrums of the 18th century, though at times having very few scholars, and struggled through the first half of the nineteenth century, closing in 1879. It was substantially rebuilt and re-opened in 1883. It was known as Dorchester Grammar School until 1950 or 1951, when the name Hardye's School was adopted as a reminder of the sixteenth century founder and links to the Hardy family.

Though he had as a child attended Isaac Last's rival establishment in Durngate Street, Thomas Hardy, the author, laid one of the foundation stones for the school's new building on the out-of-town Fordington site in 1927 - parents attached great importance to health as an aspect of education at the time! The land had previously belonged to the Duchy of Cornwall, and the new building was formally opened in 1928 by the Duke of Cornwall, the then Prince of Wales, and remained the 'Hardye's' site until 1992. The Memorial gates, dedicated in 1957, escaped demolition and were moved to the new Thomas Hardye School. The Dorchester Grammar School for Girls was opened in around 1930, and the Dorchester Modern School some time after the 1944 Education Act. These schools formed the basis of the Thomas Hardye School.


Dorchester Grammar School for Girls became Castlefield School in 1980. The boys' school had boarding facilities until 1982. The current school is a merger of the former Hardye's School (boys) and Castlefield School (girls) in 1992 on the Castlefield site when the decision was made to have a mixed comprehensive school. The Hardye's School site was subsequently sold in 1995 and developed into housing.

On Friday 12 December 2008, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall visited the school to officially open the newly constructed library and sports hall. The Prince recently developed land near the school into what is now known as Poundbury, and a school nearby to the south-west is called the Prince of Wales First School.

BBC World Olympic Dreams

After Sports Voice submitted an entry into the BBC scheme (which sees a UK school twinned with a former school of a London 2012 Olympic athlete), the Thomas Hardye School was twinned with The Doon School, in the northern Indian city of Dehradun. The all boys private school is one of India's oldest education institutions and was the school of India's first individual Olympic gold medalist Abhinav Bindra.

The schools communicate regularly and are represented by a member of staff and pupil who arrange projects to exchange culture and prepare for the London 2012 Summer Olympics.


  • Anthony Hamilton 1955-74
  • Ralph Hill 1927-55


  • Two swimming pools,
  • Astroturf pitch,
  • Large playing fields,
  • ICT rooms in most departments,
  • Theatre,
  • Cafeteria,
  • A library with over 30,000 books.
  • A new swimming pool is set to be completed in February 2012.

Notable alumni

External links

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