Durham School aims to educate pupils in the very broadest sense of the word, such that they leave as motivated and interesting people, always striving fully to develop their talents. They will contribute positively to society and be fully aware of the benefits they have gained from a good education. All this is achieved by the pursuit of both breadth and excellence in a context of mutual support. Sound judgement and the exercise of moral courage are the cornerstones of this, developed through such attributes as tolerance, compassion, self-discipline, imagination, flexibility and resilience. Beyond this, Durham School values and nurtures skills such as leadership, teamwork and intellectual reasoning which will enable its pupils to thrive in the 21st century world living life in all its fullness, but mindful always of the obligation to put back into society more than has been taken out.
A Duty to Serve
At Durham School we stress the importance of service. Our pupils receive an outstanding education which prepares them for Higher Education and employment. We believe that in addition they must have a sense of duty, an understanding that at some point they will have to give back to society whether through service, charitable donations or community engagement. In this respect there is a clear line of unbroken selflessness dating back to the school’s foundation.
We can identify countless Old Dunelmians (Alumni) who have lived by this code: those who entered religious orders or lived on monasteries abroad; who campaigned for civil liberties, the emancipation of slaves or extension of the suffrage; who joined the armed forces, the diplomatic service, or entered politics; who work in the local communities to enhance education, medical care or other services; who have contributed to charitable activity through fundraising or volunteering.
Amongst the thousands of examples of such service, appropriately as we approach the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War One and the 600th Anniversary of the school’s foundation, the name of Noel Hodgson, “The Gentle Poet”, stands out as an example of selfless duty, of service and love for the school. A former Head Boy, King’s Scholar and 1st team rugby player, Hodgson died in 1916 on the first day of the Battle of the Somme. His final poem characterises this sense of service and duty as he made a plea to God to have the strength to do his duty, to lead, to serve and to be prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice, whilst at the same time holding dear the cherished memories of his school, where his values and character were formed, developed and nurtured. It is a lesson to all current pupils, one which we remember and endeavour to follow.