Ethos and Values

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. The school was founded some 215 years ago by the then Duchess of Northumberland on the principle of giving the young people of Alnwick a good education; this mission is still true to this day. Underpinning all elements of our school community are what we call ‘our 3 basics’

Ready – Respectful – Safe

These three basics are what we expect of staff, students and all of those involved in our wider community. They are both the standards we hold each other to, as well as the standards we aim to develop in ourselves.

We are focused on ensuring our students are fully supported, especially given our geographical context. We place additional funding into our central pastoral services in order to ensure that no student waits to get the support they need. We also have high ambitions for our students, ensuring that ‘just enough’ is never enough. We also ensure that students are challenged to push themselves beyond what they may think they are capable of, in and outside of the classroom. This includes opportunities and experiences that may not normally be afforded to them. We want to give our students the very best start in life. We aim to be a school where children want to be.

High quality classroom practice and breadth of curriculum are core to this and we ensure that our dedicated staff are provided with the right training and development so they can be the best they can. We invest in our staff to ensure that they too are constantly learning and developing, whether that be by achieving nationally recognised qualifications such as the NPQs, or by investing in online packages of CPD such as the National College. We have a family-feel to the staff body with many staff members living in the school community, something we are inherently proud of. We aim to be a school where staff want to work.

Our catchment is the second largest in the United Kingdom, whilst 215 years ago the school served the local town, now, over 1000 students travel to school on the bus. We are therefore uniquely placed in order to support every area of North Northumberland. We have a thriving charitable body that works with the school in order to support the wider community, over the last few years, BOOST has facilitated experiences and equipment purchasing totalling nearly £100k. We engage in community events, and hold fortnightly meetings with community leaders in order to share information and celebrate success. We aim to be a school where ‘community’ works.

The development and promotion of the Arts is central to our shared belief of raising achievement and aspiration through curriculum and extra curricular creativity, regardless of starting point, gender, socio economic circumstance or location . Our two theatre 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.The commitment to Arts provision is held within our achievement of ArtsMark Platinum.

We believe that sport can be a strong driver for personal excellence and has a firm place in a schools role within a community. Our sports provision has a rich history, with no fewer than 15 students in recent years representing their country in a variety of sports, from Lucy Bronze and Lucy Stanniforth in women's football, Cyrus Pattinson in Boxing, and Laura Weightman in Athletics. We have many current students on excellence pathway programmes in sports such as: Team GB triathlon, Team GB climbing, England women's rugby, road cycling, and equestrian, as well as local rugby, cricket and football teams. We may be geographically remote from large stadia and facilities, but we are proud of the achievements that many of our students have collected over the years.