Ethos and Aims

At Duchess Community High School our core message is:

Building Relationships and Inspiring Success

Hello and thankyou considering the Duchess’s Community High School as the school of choice for your child.

We are excited about welcoming our newest cohort into the school community; a place

where children want to be, staff want to work and community works.

We want DCHS to be considered as a centre of educational excellence underpinned by the principle that effective relationships are the key to effective outcomes. Underpinning all elements of our school community are what we call ‘our 3 basics’

Ready – Respectful – Safe

Alan Rogers and James Wilson,


The Arts @ DCHS

The development and promotion of the Arts is central to the shared belief of raising achievement and aspiration through curriculum and extra curricular creativity , enrichment , cultural opportunity and engagement for all through inspirational cultural, artistic and performance experiences regardless of starting point, gender, socio economic circumstance or location . The commitment to the shared ethos of the Creative Arts Faculty and Performing Arts provision is held within our ArtsMark Gold status and aspiration of achieving ArtsMark Platinum.

‘We believe that the creative and performing arts make a unique contribution to the education and well being of young people, community and staff in a commitment to life-long learning and self belief.’ Arts, cultural and heritage education at DCHS is an entitlement for all students both within the formal curriculum and through extra-curricular and community activities to raise engagement and cultural capital for all.

Our two productions a year allow for pupils to seize control of their creativity in all areas of a theatrical production and are allowed to foster skills in creative problem solving, collaboration and confidence in performance and engagement with arts organisations and the wider community. Publicity and marketing opportunities also exist and resilience and mental wellbeing are developed successfully by the recognition locally all pupils receive when their productions are performed within the town.

Artsmark has given us a powerful voice and platform to celebrate the excellent work across all areas of our school, build capacity in teaching, learning and student resilience and develop leadership skills. It has also given us the status to be even more outward facing with our offer and opportunities within our region to support other schools and providers with their provision offers.

It is with great pride that we can announce we have become an Artmark Platinum School in our recent redesignation by Arts Council England, who state ;

The Duchess’s Community High School has embraced arts and creativity as a core part of your pedagogy and offer, with the Quality Principles, 5 habits of mind and creativity via your CREATE curriculum driving activity. You actively promote, from an early age, arts and cultural industries as genuine career choices, and promote opportunities to experience working alongside industry professionals. You have a credible arts offer at KS4 with entries growing by 25% and the highest value added scores across the school. Of note is your Arts Award partnership with the Laing Art Gallery to develop a 3-year Bronze and Silver Arts Award programme looking at literacy and the Arts. Senior leaders advocate for the impact of arts and culture and share good practice across a wider range of settings, for example your role on your LCEP, Music Hub and support for teacher training. You showcase high-quality teaching of arts and culture by offering CPD opportunities to other settings and sharing resources over time. You have established long-lasting partnerships with arts and cultural organisations that are having a positive impact on outcomes for a wider group of children, young people and staff, for example your work with Alnwick Playhouse, Mortal Fools, Baltic Stars and Laing Gallery.

Congratulations on your Artsmark Platinum Award!

Press link Northumberland Gazette

Habits of Mind / Teaching creativity across the curriculum