"Leadership and management, Behaviour and safety of pupils, Quality of teaching, Achievement of pupils, Sixth form provision - All judged Good."

Ofsted 2014

Our Ethos and Our Values



Our Ethos

We are conscious and proud of Desborough’s history. Founded as a boys’ grammar school over 100 years ago we have built upon those firm foundations and continue to focus on responsibility, respect and the building of self esteem. We have maintained many of the grammar school traditions, whilst also embracing change.

The heritage of the college is evident in many aspects of college life. Uniform is important and is worn by all students. We also retain our college crest and motto, “Strenuis Ardua Cedunt” – “Difficulties Yield to Diligence”, something that is reflected in the attitudes and values that we instill in the boys as part of the preparation for their future lives beyond school. ​

We recognise the value of a single sex education and believe that this provides a learning environment in which boys can thrive and excel. For many boys their achievement is enhanced by the college's single-sex character. We have recently forged strong links with Radley College, who offer an outstanding example of single sex education for boys. This partnership offers our students unique opportunities to participate in activities with Radley’s staff and students which include joint lectures, sports coaching sessions and other extra-curricular activities.

We have four houses in college. All boys are allocated to one of these on entry to the college, and students are involved in house activities throughout their time at Desborough. The houses are particularly significant in adding an element of competition to school events, mostly of a sporting nature.

Our Values

    Courage to stand up for what we believe in

    Respecting others

    Having fun and a good quality of life

    Honesty and integrity

    Humility, compassion and concern for others

    Tolerance and forgiveness

    Confidence to lead


These values influence behavior and actions and they also have the capacity to inspire and encourage. Respecting one another and our environment is taken very seriously in our college, which in turn leads it into safe and inviting place to be.

We see every pupil as an individual, with each having a unique blend of gifts and abilities. We aim to give everyone the confidence to feel positive about their particular strengths and to explore their personal interests. We encourage students to engage with their peers, to think for themselves, to have a sense of responsibility – and to have dreams and self belief. We believe this is the best way of ensuring children grow into confident, inspired and happy young adults wanting to stride on to their next challenge in life.