The school motto is part of the motto of the Grand National Archery Society, which is:
“Stout arm, strong bow and steady eye, union, true heart and courtesie!”
This is taken from a ballad written by John Hughes, father of the author of “Tom Brown’s School Days”.
This ballad was inspired by a much earlier ballad of the 16th Century about the story of Robin Hood. John Hughes’ ballad, “The Pindar of Wakefield’s Legend”, was written in 1832 and was a poem on the West Berkshire Archers’ Society, founded in 1831, with the members’ identities given Robin Hood type names. The original copy of the poem, signed by all the founder members, is today held by Lt. Col. Williams-Thomas, the present West Berkshire Secretary.
The motto has connotations for Northdene Preparatory School which cannot be overlooked.
The words ‘true heart’ express the aim of this family school to achieve the spirit of one ‘company’, and the loyalty of that ‘one company’. Also, we believe that hearts and not heads should determine the policy of this school.
‘Courtesie’ (or the modern spelling of ‘Courtesy’) is a worthy addition to the motto of a school in which children are often praised for their good manners.
A sense of history is suggested, which ties in well with the word ‘dene’ from Northdene, meaning “a vale, usually wooded, or a dell (Old English: denu)”.