The Friary School is hugely admired for its superb Performing Arts and Arts provision and historically held Specialist School Status in this field between 2006-2011. Despite the Department for Education’s national withdrawal of the specialist school status model, we have always sought to retain our proud tradition of drama, music, dance, and the arts, and this commitment was behind us achieving Artsmark status for these fields.

The Artsmark Award is a curriculum accreditation granted by the Arts Council (England) and is designed to critically evaluate and ambitiously support schools in embedding arts, culture and creativity across the whole-school curriculum. It very much has an emphasis on celebrating a school’s commitment to cultural education and dovetails well with our SMSC Quality Mark.

This accreditation is about a long-lasting commitment to creativity and cannot be obtained by cutting corners or running token slapdash projects. The Artsmark journey starts with a ‘Statement of Commitment’ which is a forward-thinking document that sets out goals and ambitions for a two-year development period. Following this, there is a ‘Statement of Impact’ which is a point of reflection and evaluation and evidences the impact of your targets and forms the main facet of the judgement for the Artsmark Award.

Our whole-school curriculum appreciates that arts and cultural education supports the health and well-being of students who can flourish and find their voice within the creativity and dynamism it offers. It provides a stimuli for self-discovery and expression, builds confidence, and provides skill-sets that support daily social interactions, as well as professional surety in the adult workplace. Elsewhere, it provides a gateway to our country’s history, identity and spirit, whether through the medium of a painting, a play, a song, or a recital. Equally, the willingness to be imaginative and creative does not just benefit the stage or the gallery: just as much it enables our scientists to formulate vaccines; our engineers to design environmental salvations; or our business leaders to stimulate the markets of tomorrow. All rely on the ability to look at things anew and having the expressive confidence to see the world differently.

Within these contextual settings, a school’s curriculum must provide the stimulus for personal and creative growth. For us this is best reflected in providing regular opportunities for parents to proudly admire their son or daughter stepping out of childhood and confidently striding towards adult maturity. Our Artsmark provision is about a parent admiring their child openly discussing their work’s rationale in a public exhibition; a parent sitting awestruck in seeing their child engage a full 350-seater audience so both the spotlight and rapt attention is held by them alone; or a parent punching the air and singing-along as their child rocks out hundreds of music festival goers as the summer sun sinks into dusk.

These are the curriculum experiences our Artsmark helps shape and these are the curriculum experiences our Artsmark help challenge, refine and extend as each year goes by.

To learn more about our Artsmark, please contact Lottie Hearn, Deputy Headteacher, via