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  • The Gryphon School
    Bristol Road
    DT9 4EQ
  • Head: James Gower
  • T 01935 813122
  • F 01935 816992
  • E [email protected]
  • W
  • A state school for boys and girls aged from 11 to 18.
  • Read about the best schools in Dorset
  • Boarding: No
  • Local authority: Dorset
  • Pupils: 1,515; sixth formers: 323
  • Religion: Church of England
  • Review: View The Good Schools Guide Review
  • Ofsted:
    • Latest Overall effectiveness Good 1
      • Effectiveness of leadership and management Good 2
    • 1 Short inspection 21st June 2023
    • 2 Full inspection 29th January 2014

    Short inspection reports only give an overall grade; you have to read the report itself to gauge whether the detailed grading from the earlier full inspection still stands.

  • Ofsted report: View the Ofsted report

What says..

Majority take four additional GCSEs on top of compulsory subjects, while ‘three option pathway’ students take one less with more maths and English instead. Choice of A levels is extended by sharing the load with local independent school Sherborne, a 10-minute walk away. Lively arts department where the buzzing 3D design arm is starting to overtake art in popularity. Impressive models of the Frank Lloyd Wright waterfall house, and enthusiastic students working to create fantasy beasts destined for the big screen. A 3D model in Gryphon uniform is suspended ominously from a bar in the studio – it’s what happens if they don’t do their homework, winks teacher. The...

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What the school says...

We are at the heart of our community, providing an outstanding education for young people in Sherborne as well as North and West Dorset and South Somerset. The Gryphon is an Outstanding Church of England School (SIAMS) with an Outstanding Sixth Form (Ofsted).

Our special culture and ethos focus on high achievement both personally and academically. We strive to be outstanding in all respects - this includes continually improving the opportunities for the students, facilities and ways of learning. Our excellent facilities include a large Learning Resource Centre, Sixth Form Common Room, study areas and a large café, as well as a state-of-the-art digital learning system. We also offer an amazing range of extra curricular activities, clubs and trips, from Duke of Edinburgh awards, to skiing, to choir and trips abroad.

Our pastoral care is second to none. Each year group has a team of people who are always available to solve problems and give encouragement and help. . At The Gryphon we want students to fulfil their potential and more, to be prepared for life after school and to receive the standard of support and care expected of a high performing school.
...Read more

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What The Good Schools Guide says


Since March 2023, James Gower (acting headteacher), previously deputy headteacher. He studied geography at UWE and later did a master’s in information technology there before doing his PGCE at the University of Exeter.

He joined The Gryphon as a geography teacher and received a distinction award in the 2007 Teaching Awards. Has held a variety of roles at the school, including head of year and assistant headteacher. He has also led on teaching and learning, behaviour and attitudes and pupil premium. Spent one year on a secondment as headteacher at King Arthur’s School, Wincanton, returning to The Gryphon in September 2019.

Married, with three sons, he was director of rugby at Sherborne RFC for more than 20 years and was a finalist in the 2018 RFU National Rugby...

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Please note: Independent schools frequently offer IGCSEs or other qualifications alongside or as an alternative to GCSE. The DfE does not record performance data for these exams so independent school GCSE data is frequently misleading; parents should check the results with the schools.

Who came from where

Who goes where

Special Education Needs

The SEN and dyslexia centre is outstanding and draws pupils over the borders from Dorchester, Gillingham, Shaftesbury, Blandford. We serve a total of 230 (23 dyslexic, 53 statemented) with help for mild Asperger's too. Says an LEA official, 'the Gryphon School has created an ethos over the past ten years which is based upon inclusive practice. All teaching and support staff are actively engaged in designing, creating and delivering a curriculum appropriate to meeting the needs of all pupils. The school has developed highly effective tracking and monitoring systems and analyses data in a very systematic way to inform future planning and pupil progress. This ensures that the additional resources provided for pupils with SEN have very positive outcomes.' Says the school, 'we provide special needs right up to A level. A student with Asperger's who had been rejected by mainstream schools in his area and basically written off came here and we got him through 6 GCSE levels. Our dyslexia base is full simply because of the excellent provision. We never take more than 4 in each year group. We offer special needs right up to A level so children with severe learning difficulties are not excluded from acquiring good A levels.' The school has 100% access for students in wheelchairs.

Condition Provision for in school
ASD - Autistic Spectrum Disorder Y
Aspergers Y
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders Y
CReSTeD registered for Dyslexia
Dyscalculia Y
Dysgraphia Y
Dyslexia Y
Dyspraxia Y
English as an additional language (EAL) Y
Has an entry in the Autism Services Directory
Has SEN unit or class Y
HI - Hearing Impairment Y
Hospital School
Mental health
MLD - Moderate Learning Difficulty Y
MSI - Multi-Sensory Impairment Y
Natspec Specialist Colleges
OTH - Other Difficulty/Disability Y
Other SpLD - Specific Learning Difficulty Y
PD - Physical Disability Y
PMLD - Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulty
SEMH - Social, Emotional and Mental Health Y
SLCN - Speech, Language and Communication Y
SLD - Severe Learning Difficulty
Special facilities for Visually Impaired
SpLD - Specific Learning Difficulty Y
VI - Visual Impairment Y

Interpreting catchment maps

The maps show in colour where the pupils at a school came from*. Red = most pupils to Blue = fewest.

Where the map is not coloured we have no record in the previous three years of any pupils being admitted from that location based on the options chosen.

For help and explanation of our catchment maps see: Catchment maps explained

Further reading

If there are more applicants to a school than it has places for, who gets in is determined by which applicants best fulfil the admissions criteria.

Admissions criteria are often complicated, and may change from year to year. The best source of information is usually the relevant local authority website, but once you have set your sights on a school it is a good idea to ask them how they see things panning out for the year that you are interested in.

Many schools admit children based on distance from the school or a fixed catchment area. For such schools, the cut-off distance will vary from year to year, especially if the school give priority to siblings, and the pattern will be of a central core with outliers (who will mostly be siblings). Schools that admit on the basis of academic or religious selection will have a much more scattered pattern.

*The coloured areas outlined in black are Census Output Areas. These are made up of a group of neighbouring postcodes, which accounts for their odd shapes. These provide an indication, but not a precise map, of the school’s catchment: always refer to local authority and school websites for precise information.

The 'hotter' the colour the more children have been admitted.

Children get into the school from here:

most years
quite often
sometimes, but not in this year

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