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We are proud to receive our Silver Artsmark Award

March 19, 2024 09:35am

Pupils and staff at Holcombe Grammar School are thrilled to receive the respected Artsmark Silver Award. Artsmark is the only creative quality standard for schools and education settings accredited by Arts Council England. Artsmark supports schools to develop and celebrate arts and cultural education, putting creativity and wellbeing at the heart of the curriculum, as well as ensuring every young person can be creative and access a diverse, high-quality cultural education.

To achieve their Artsmark Silver Award, Holcombe raised awareness of arts, culture and creativity amongst their students and staff by focusing on increasing exposure to arts and cultural experiences within the school’s daily tutor periods. This was praised by the Artsmark assessors, stating: “This is great as it involves staff from across all departments.” The school recently refurbished their main hall, opened a new drama studio and installed a new professional lighting and sound system, which allowed them to reintroduce drama at a Key Stage 3 level and for GCSE. These changes have seen an increased number of students taking up drama as an option. The assessors recognised these actions in their feedback, which stated: “It was warming to read that the number of students taking up drama has increased from 13% to 26%. […] Careers in the arts and creative industries are actively promoted, such as taking students on a tour of the Sky Studios to learn about work and apprenticeship opportunities.”

The Artsmark assessor continued to commend the school, saying: “Students also have opportunities to perform to large audiences through whole school productions, music concerts and through specific projects such as co-creating a performance with Rochester Grammar School.

“It was lovely to read some students have had the chance to perform alongside industry professionals, they must have been so proud of their achievements. Taking part in the ROH Cultural Champion Course has had a positive impact and has resulted in writing a new scheme of work based on ‘Noughts and Crosses’ to develop cultural awareness through drama.”


Nichola Miles, one of the staff lead on this campaign, reflected on the experience, saying: "The Artsmark journey has awakened Holcombe’s creativity and talent. Enabling us to embrace our unique community and culture has been exhilarating. Our students have become inspired and motivated to learn artistically, with the freedom to express themselves. The outcomes have far surpassed our expectations".

While colleague, Gemma Dacey, who led the campaign alongside Nichola, commented: “Following the additional focus on Arts and Culture in our daily tutor periods, we are proud to see the curriculum has embraced Culture and Arts and that this is reflected in the way of life at  Holcombe.”


On receiving the award, Mandy Gage, Director of Education who leads on cultural development across the Trust, said: "It is wonderful to see Holcombe Grammar School start their Artsmark journey following the incredible work the school has done to embed the arts within their curriculum.

"At TSAT, we believe in the value of cultural education and encourage all of our schools to embark on Artsmark journeys. Well done to everyone involved in achieving this fantastic award!"

As part of the assessor’s feedback, the school was provided with guidance and advice on which steps to take to progress to the next level in the Artsmark Awards. The staff and students look forward to putting this into action and working towards their Gold Award next.

Dr. Darren Henley, OBE, Chief Executive of the Arts Council, said: "I would like to congratulate Holcombe Grammar Schoolon their Artsmark Award. Becoming an Artsmark school demonstrates that through offering a broad, ambitious, and creative curriculum, every pupil can develop character and resilience, increasing their knowledge, curiosity, and skills that will remain with them through to adult life."