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Prestigious Artsmark Gold Award for Borough Academy

Pupils and staff at Haberdashers’ Borough Academy are celebrating after receiving a prestigious Artsmark Award in a momentous year for the programme as it celebrates 20 years of arts, culture and creativity in schools.

The Artsmark Award is the only creative quality standard for schools, accredited by Arts Council England. It supports schools to develop and celebrate arts and cultural education, putting creativity and wellbeing at the heart of the curriculum. Artsmark ensures every young person can be creative and access a diverse, high-quality cultural education. 

Having worked hard to ensure they have a developed world-class arts and culture provision that is inclusive, diverse, relevant and engaging since the school opened in 2019, Borough were keen to have these achievements acknowledged more widely.  

The Artsmark journey meant the Creative Arts team at Borough had to focus on what they were doing well and the next steps for stretching their reach into the community. This was achieved by creating an overall plan that was committed to and delivered across the whole school.  

The team considered how they could build on the many partnerships that enrich the creative work of all at the school - including with the Africa Centre, Creative Mentors, Tate, Freelands Foundation, Frantic Assembly, Odyssey Orchestra and the Globe Theatre – to ensure they can bring as many students as possible into contact with a multitude of diverse professional creative artists.  

The school’s driving ambition remains to enable every student to view themself as a creative artist, experiencing the joy of high expectations and outcomes. This means ensuring the arts offer is inclusive, relevant and that it reflects and celebrates the diversity of the whole school community. Events like Borough’s Culture Day provided an opportunity for all to celebrate the creative talents of their students.  

We are so proud of the way we have fostered a culture of creativity at Borough. Our focus is to empower all our young people to feel the value of creative thinking in their future lives and be confident to go forth and enrich the world with new ideas. Our students see that they are part of a wider community of practice; and make the most of opportunities to collaborate.

Deborah Britton-Field, Head of Design & Art 

The Artsmark assessor commended Borough Academy on its arts provision and said:  

There is no doubt arts and culture are highly valued and you have given many examples to support this, such as your commitment to ensuring every student learns a musical instrument and has the opportunity to play in a band which is supported by professional musicians and the time given to the Arts at KS3. It comes as no surprise to read nearly all students have chosen at least one arts GCSE. It will be exciting to read of these students’ achievements at the end of their GCSE course in the future.   

Curriculum design is a strength with many opportunities for students to make connections with not only other areas of learning but also with their day-to-day experiences, which are relevant to them. For instance, during Black History Month, students used art, drama, history and geography in partnership with The Africa Centre and The Migration Museum to develop a project on ‘My Family, Our Borough. 

 On receiving the award, Emily Segal, Creative Arts Lead at Borough Academy, said:

We are delighted to receive this recognition from the Arts Council for our amazing creative arts students and the Creative Arts team. This has only encouraged us to keep being innovative and inspiring in all we do. By the end of this academic year, Borough will have their first set of GCSE results in Art, Graphics and Photography, Music and Drama. We will continue our work with all our partners and look for new partnerships including more dance opportunities for our students.

Declan Jones, Principal of Borough Academy, said:  

Achieving Artsmark Gold confirms that we are moving in the right direction and celebrates where we are on this journey. We will continue to be unapologetically aspirational for all our students and hope in the next two years to achieve Artsmark Platinum when we will finally have a fully mature school with a sixth form.

Dr Darren Henley CBE, Chief Executive of the Arts Council, said:  

I would like to congratulate Haberdashers’ Borough Academy on 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.  






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