Holmes Chapel Comprehensive School

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Holmes Chapel Comprehensive School (HCCS)
Holmes Chapel Comprehensive School logo.png
Motto Preparing learners for a changing world
Established 1978
Type Academy
Headteacher Mr Denis Oliver
Chair of Governors Mrs Jackie Beard
Location Selkirk Drive
Holmes Chapel
Coordinates: 53°11′50″N 2°22′07″W / 53.197189°N 2.368717°W / 53.197189; -2.368717
Local authority Cheshire East
Staff c. 87 teaching
Students c. 1,225 pupils
Gender Co-educational
Ages 11–18
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

Pupil population[edit]

In total, the school community contains just over 1,200 pupils 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 pupils, whilst the Sixth Form is divided into two-year groups of about 75 pupils each.

The proportion of pupils with special educational needs is well below average, while the proportion of pupils with statements is average.[citation needed] Pupils with the highest levels of need mostly have specific learning difficulties (dyslexia), emotional and behavioural difficulties, or moderate learning difficulties.[citation needed] About two per cent of the pupils have minority ethnic backgrounds.[citation needed] 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.[citation needed]

The school's catchment area is large, and approximately half its pupils 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 pupils 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 to 15 pupils cycle.[citation needed] The local area is rural and generally very affluent.[citation needed]


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. Pupils 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, pupils choose which subjects they wish to continue to study (although English, Mathematics, Science, Core PE and ICT remain compulsory). Pupils must choose a Humanities option from a choice of History, Religious Studies or Geography. During the two years, pupils 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.

Pupils 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.

Pupils who choose to remain in the school and join the sixth form for years 12 and 13 study for AS and A2 qualifications. Usually, pupils 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 pupils also take AS/A2 General Studies (although this is not taught). A large proportion of pupils 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 pupils go onto leading universities, such as Cambridge, Oxford and Durham.

The school has recently[when?] begun teaching astronomy GCSE, available to pupils in both years 10 & 12.


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 arts[edit]

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 pupils. The music department has choirs and orchestras- all of which have performed at local events. The annual 'Battle of the Bands' competition is organised 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.

Extracurricular activities[edit]

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 pupils on numerous trips. Pupils have been to South Africa, France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and Austria. Each year, Year Seven pupils go on a residential to the Conway Centre in Anglesey, Wales for five days- this trip has always been very popular.

Academic performance[edit]

The school consistently performs excellently in performance league tables:

Pupils achieving five A* to C grades at GCSE (2005): 73% (national average: 57.1%)
Pupils achieving five A* to C grades at GCSE inc. maths and English (2005): 62% (national average: 44.9%)
AS/A2 average points per pupil (2005): 312.6 (national average: 277.6)

House system[edit]

Pupils 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 term.

House Cup winners[edit]

  • Arley
    • Winners: Winter 2013, Summer 2015
  • Capesthorne
    • Winners: Summer 2014, Winter 2014
  • Moreton
    • Winners: Spring 2016
  • Tatton
    • Winners: Winter 2012, Spring 2013, Summer 2013, Spring 2014


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.[1]

Expansion and development[edit]

Since it first opened almost 30 years ago, HCCS's pupil 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 pupils, 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 adopting a house system of 4 houses lead buy a head of house. The 4 houses are; Capesthorn, Arley, Morton and Tatton.

In 2013, the sixth form/arts block was redeveloped, also expanding the sixth form building. Temporary buildings were installed on the site for use as teaching facilities for the 6th form during the building period due to the structural defects discovered in the original facility.[2]

Notable alumini[edit]



External links[edit]