Holmes Chapel Comprehensive School
|Motto||Quality Education in a Caring Environment|
|Headteacher||Mr Denis Oliver|
|Chair of Governors||Mrs Jackie Beard|
|Local authority||Cheshire East|
|Staff||c. 87 teaching|
|Houses||Arley, Capesthorne, Moreton and Tatton|
|Colours||Black and yellow|
|Notable Awards||Sportsmark Gold; Artsmark Silver|
Holmes Chapel Comprehensive School is a co-educational secondary school and sixth form centre located in Holmes Chapel, Cheshire, England. It was originally founded in 1978 as a purpose-built 11-18 comprehensive and sixth form. It was opened in September 1978.
The school is a designated academy and Training School which has also been accredited with both Sportsmark and Artsmark awards. It consistently performs excellently in academic performance League Tables, invariably exceeding both National and Local Education Authority
In total, the school community contains just over 1300 students whose ages range from 11 to 18 years. Approximately 170 of these are members of the sixth form, and there are about 85 members of teaching staff. The lower school is divided into five year groups, each containing about 200 students, whilst the Sixth Form is divided into two year groups of about 75 students each.
The proportion of pupils with special educational needs is well below average, while the proportion of pupils with statements is average. Pupils with the highest levels of need mostly have specific learning difficulties (dyslexia), emotional and behavioural difficulties, or moderate learning difficulties. About two per cent of the pupils have minority ethnic backgrounds. The proportion of the pupils who are eligible for a free school meal is well below the national average and the socio-economic census data for local wards is very favourable.
The school's catchment area is large, and approximately half its students live in the surrounding towns and villages of Allostock, Brereton, Byley, Chelford, Cranage, Goostrey, Lower Peover, Middlewich, Plumley, Smallwood, Holmes Chapel and Wincham. Consequently, many students travel to school on private buses, provided by either Cheshire County Council or the school itself. The majority of those who live in Holmes Chapel walk, due to the school's position reasonably near the centre of the Village, and about 10 or 15 students cycle. The local area is rural and generally very affluent.
The school has excellent and modern facilities, including:
. a dance studio . two drama studios . science laboratories . tennis courts . athletics track . football pitch . ICT suites . woodwork workshops . two art studios . food technology suites . music recording studios
The school has a strict dress code. The uniform consists of: a black V-neck jumper with the school logo; a white shirt; a tie with the house colours; a black knee length skirt for girls and black trousers for boys; black tights for girls and black socks for boys and black shoes.
The school offers a wide range of subjects, and has very broad curriculum.Students study the Key Stage 3 Curriculum in years 7, 8 and 9, and sit National Curriculum assessment examinations (SATs) at the end of this period.
In years 10 and 11, students choose which subjects they wish to continue to study (although English, Mathematics, Science, Core PE and ICT remain compulsory). Students must choose a Humanities option from a choice of History, Religious Studies or Geography. During the two years, students are assessed by external qualification bodies through both coursework and examinations, and are awarded GCSE or GNVQ qualifications in all subjects in which they pass at the end of the period. Subjects offered at either GCSE or GNVQ level by the school include: Art, Business Studies, Drama, Food Technology, French, Spanish, German, Graphic Products,History, Geography, Information Communication Technology, Music, Physical Education, Religious Studies, Dance, Resistant Materials and Systems and Control.
Students opting for the vocational rather than traditional route in KS4 now study BTEC Media and can opt for other vocational choices such as childcare and land based studies.
Students who choose to remain in the school and join the sixth form for years 12 and 13 study for AS and A2 qualifications. Usually, students study four AS-level subjects in year 12, and then continue three of these into A2 during year 13. Over 28 subjects are available to choose from. Additionally, most students also take AS/A2 General Studies (although this is not taught). A large proportion of students go on to study at University or pursue other further-education opportunities after completion of their AS/A2 studies at Holmes Chapel. A high number of their students go onto leading universities, such as Cambridge, Oxford and Durham.
Sport is a large part of school life, with football, rugby, tennis, dance, athletics, badminton, hockey, netball, basketball and gymnastics are some of the sports played. The school consistently competes in regional competitions and often does very well.
The school has an excellent arts department. The two drama studios are where drama lessons are held- along with annual plays. The music classrooms are where music lessons are held, and the music department also offers instrument and voice lessons to students. The music department has choirs and orchestras- all of which have performed at local events. The annual Battle of the Bands competition is organized by the music department, and consists of local bands of any genre battling against each other for a prize. The art department has two art studios, where lessons are held, and regularly runs painting and photography competitions.
The school has numerous extracurricular activities, including: chess, hockey, football, wheelchair basketball, football, drama, netball, brass orchestra, rugby, debating, martial arts, painting, athletics and choir.
The school takes students on numerous trips. Students have been to South Africa, France, Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands and Austria. Each year, Year Seven students go on a residential to the Conway Centre in Anglesey, Wales for five days- this trip has always been very popular.
The school consistently performs excellently in performance league tables:
|Students achieving five A* to C grades at GCSE (2005):||73% (national average: 57.1%)|
|Students achieving five A* to C grades at GCSE inc. maths and English (2005):||62% (national average: 44.9%)|
|AS/A2 average points per student (2005):||312.6 (national average: 277.6)|
Students are sorted into four houses: Arley, Capesthorne, Moreton and Tatton. Each year, the houses compete for the house cup- which is awarded at the end of each school year
The most recent Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills (OFSTED) report concluded as follows:
This very effective school provides excellent value for money. Its success is based on exceptionally strong leadership, much very good teaching and the very good attitudes of the overwhelming majority of the pupils. The achievement of all groups of pupils is very good. Pupils make very good progress in most subjects and overall results in National Curriculum tests and GCSE and A-level examinations are well above average.
Expansion and development
Since it first opened almost 30 years ago, HCCS's student population has grown enormously, leading to considerable expansion of the school buildings. In the last five years, a new Arts building was opened, as well as an extension to the science department and a complete refurbishment of all the science rooms has been completed during the summer of 2007. Partially funded by donations and sponsorship from parents and local businesses, the Arts building is home to the art and music faculties, along with a number of rooms dedicated to Sixth Form use on the first floor including a common room, and other 'A level only' courses such as sociology and psychology. They are currently looking into another extension which is intended to boost the number of intakes.
In September 2006 a new dining hall facility was completed. This building helped to resolve the problem of over-crowding at lunchtime, allowing lunch to be served in two sittings, rather than four. It also houses a dedicated 'bistro' for the use of Sixth Form students, which currently provides food in the mornings, which ends after lunch. A cashless system for dining came into action on 29 January 2007 using cards, and that has since been updated for some years to biometric thumbprints, to help solve the problem of lost cards.
Finally, in a radical measure introduced for the start of the school year in September 2007, the school will no longer have independent heads of year who follow their year group through the school, instead having one teacher for two year groups.
In 2013, the sixth form/arts block was redeveloped, also expanding the sixth form building.
Notable former pupils
- Dean Ashton - Crewe Alexandra, West Ham United and England footballer (born 1983)
- Harry Styles - Member of the boy-band One Direction (born 1994)
- Mark Bowden - composer (born 1979)
- Seth Johnson - Ex Crewe Alexandra, Derby County, Leeds United and England footballer (born 1979)
- Andy Porter - Ex Port Vale player and assistant coach, and York City assistant coach (born 1968)