The School was founded in 1542, in accordance with the will of William Dauntsey, a master of the Worshipful Company of Mercers, and occupies approximately 25 acres (100,000 m2) of land at the main school campus. Results for 2013 show that 80% of A-levels taken achieved A*/A/B grades with 51% A*/A grades. Over 76.6% of all subjects examined at GCSE were awarded A or A* grades, with a splendid 45.6% A* grades. The academic life of the School is vibrant, challenging and progressive, and the broad, balanced, curriculum offers opportunities for all pupils to enjoy their lessons in a stimulating, dynamic environment.
Jolie Brise, the famous gaff rigged pilot cutter, is sailed exclusively by Dauntsey pupils throughout the year. In summer 2000 Dauntsey crews took part in The Tall Ships' Race 2000, which took her from Southampton to Hull, Brixton, Sunderland, Newcastle-Under-Lyme, Boston (Lincs) and Amsterdam. In Amsterdam, Jolie Brise was declared the overall winner of this prestigious international race. She also won The Tall Ships' Race 2002, which took her from Alicante to Malaga. In 2009 the Jolie Brise came second, in its class, of the Tall Ships Race, the final destination of which, was Belfast, where the ships were greeted, after a transatlantic race, by an estimated 400,000 people.
Entry at this stage is mainly for boarders, though there are usually a limited number of day places available. That said, preference is given to boarders and, where applicable, siblings. All prospective boarders will be invited to stay at The Manor, the Lower School boarding house, for two days in the Summer Term, four terms before their expected arrival at Dauntsey's (i.e. when they are in Year 7). This will give prospective pupils a taste of life at Dauntsey's, and the experience should enable them to decide whether or not Dauntsey's should be their school of first choice. During their stay in June, candidates will live as boarders at The Manor, attend lessons and try their hand at sailing on Jolie Brise. Prospective pupils will be assessed by interview and verbal reasoning test. Prior to the assessment, we write to current Heads for a detailed report on progress and Common Entrance predictions, thus we hope to be in a position to confirm a firm place, subject to an average of 60% at Common Entrance, success in the scholarship examination or alternative appropriate examination. If parents decide to accept this place, the usual deposit will then be required; this will be refunded if entry requirements are not met.