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  • The Thomas Hardye School
    Queen's Avenue
    DT1 2ET
  • Head: Nick Rutherford
  • T 01305 266064
  • F 01305 250510
  • E [email protected]
  • W
  • A state school for boys and girls aged from 13 to 18.
  • Read about the best schools in Dorset
  • Boarding: No
  • Local authority: Dorset
  • Pupils: 2,092; sixth formers: 705
  • Religion: Non-denominational
  • Review: View The Good Schools Guide Review
  • Ofsted:
    • Latest Overall effectiveness Outstanding 1
      • 16-19 study programmes Outstanding 1
      • Effectiveness of leadership and management Outstanding 1
    • 1 Full inspection 19th March 2015
  • Ofsted report: View the Ofsted report

What says..

A well-run, purposeful comprehensive. School has a real ‘can-do’ approach. Prospective parents often worry about the sheer size of the place but it doesn’t seem to be an issue once pupils start. ‘And we get maps to help us find our way round,’ said a year 10 girl appreciatively. ‘It’s quite a grown-up sort of place,’ agreed one of our young guides. ‘We don’t have a lot of rules,’ the head told us. ‘We give pupils a…

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International Baccalaureate: diploma - the diploma is the familiar A-level equivalent.

What The Good Schools Guide says


Since April 2021, Nick Rutherford. Previously principal at Mossbourne Victoria Park Academy. Degree in English language and literature from St Mary's University, Twickenham.


At 13, most pupils come from three middle schools, two in Dorchester and one in nearby Puddletown, plus a few from Weymouth and a handful from Sunninghill, a Dorchester prep. At 16 the catchment area widens considerably, with pupils travelling from as far afield as Bridport, Lyme Regis, Axminster, Sherborne, Poole and Bournemouth. Most arrive by bus (there’s a 16-19 bursary fund for students who struggle with the cost of transport, trips and equipment) but a few drive (there’s plenty of parking). School asks for at least five 6s at GCSE but says ‘everything is case specific.’

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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 school uses the title Education Extra for its special needs provision, believing this does not label the relevant students. The SENCO and Flexible Learning Coordinator (also with SENCO experience) work with two other full-time teachers and a number of teaching assistants. The school has a number of young people with physical disabilities. It also has a learning support teacher and Unit for students with speech and language difficulties. Students are not withdrawn from class unless this is linked to a requirement of a statement. Students work with Teaching Assistants and their peers in the classroom. Our students in Education Extra achieve exceptional results and many of them enter the sixth form. The school became one of only four schools nationally to be designated a Special Needs Specialist School in 2007. This has provided extra resources, expertise and further national profile, 10-09

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

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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