Jonathon Anstee

Head of School, Jonathon Anstee (17) joined Durham School from Choristers in Year 9, aged 13.  While he wasn’t a Cathedral Chorister, he was actively involved in the musical life of The Chorister School, singing in the Galilee Choir and performing as part of the school’s orchestra.

How did you feel about leaving Choristers? 
I was obviously sad to be leaving Choristers however, I was confident that my time there had set me in the right stead for the next part of my school career. Equally, I was excited about my move to Durham School, it was undoubtedly the right decision.  

What were the things you most enjoyed about being a pupil at Choristers?
In addition to the music, I really enjoyed rowing as part of the school’s boat club. It gave me a great opportunity to try my hand at a new sport and I loved it – since leaving Choristers I have continued to row at Durham School.  

What were the similarities between the two Schools you experienced?
Choristers and Durham School are hugely similar. Both schools have a strong sense of community and when I came over from across the river this really helped me to feel at home. I didn’t really notice any differences when I joined Durham School, it all seemed like part of a continuum. In addition to the strong academic side to life, both schools have rich sporting, drama and musical cultures.

Did you maintain links with Choristers and/or the Cathedral once you joined Durham School?
Thanks to the close relations between Durham School and the Cathedral, I found maintaining links with Choristers very easy. I find myself in the Cathedral at least once a term for our end of term service and I always love being back.  

What interests and experiences have you pursued since arriving at Durham School?
Since joining Durham School I have continued to pursue a lot of the interests I had at Choristers as well developing new ones. I’ve kept up my interest in music, performing both as part of the choir and the orchestra as well as leading Bungites’ House (School House) Music campaign for the last couple of years. I’ve also become involved in the Naval section of the Combined Cadet Force which has provided me with a lot of great opportunities including sailing across the English Channel in a 60ft schooner.

Durham School has also allowed me to see many different parts of the world. In 2017, I participated in the Chinese exchange programme with Chengdu No. 7 school, the following year I went on the school sports tour to South Africa and in February 2020 I visited Moscow and St Petersburg as part of a History trip.

I’ve also been supported to pursue my academic interests in new ways, establishing the Creighton Society, the school’s History society, which has continued to run lectures with international speakers despite the Covid-19 pandemic.  

What are your plans and ambitions for your future after Durham School?
After Durham School I’m hoping to read History at university. I first became interested in the subject at Choristers, so it’s been great that Durham School has helped me to keep up my enthusiasm and has supported me so much in this pursuit.  

How do you feel about the coming together of the Schools?
I think it is a positive development. In my mind Choristers and Durham School have always been a part of the same pair. Both my father and I went to Choristers and then moved across the river to Durham School – the progression was a very natural one. The relations I had with Durham School whilst I was at Choristers and those I have had with Choristers since being at Durham School have all been very positive. I feel that strengthening of such connections can only serve to benefit future generations of Durham and Chorister School pupils even more.