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
53°11′50″N 2°22′07″W / 53.197189°N 2.368717°W / 53.197189; -2.368717Coordinates: 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 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 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 then choose three 'options' to take as GCSE. It is no longer compulsory for a Humanities subject to be taken. 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 choosing 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 A2 qualifications. The school no longer provides AS-level courses, instead students choose three A-level courses to take and cfocus solely on this for the exams at the end of the secpnd year. Over 28 subjects are available to choose from. Additionally, most pupils also take 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 studies at Holmes Chapel. A high number of their pupils go onto leading universities, such as Cambridge, Oxford and Durham.

The school teaches astronomy GCSE, available to pupils in years 10 & 12.

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. All siblings (Brothers and Sisters) shall be housed together. Each house is led by a member of staff, a Head of House, who manage and care for the students in their house. The current Heads of Houses are:

Arley ~ Mrs Sue Holt

Tatton ~ Mr Patrick Hogg

Moreton ~ Mr Mike Henshall

Capesthorne ~ Mrs Ann Bentley

House Cup winners[edit]

  • Arley
    • Winners: Winter 2013, Summer 2015
  • Capesthorne
    • Winners: Summer 2014, Winter 2014
  • Moreton
    • Winners: Spring 2016, Spring 2017
  • 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:[when?]

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 40 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 was an extension to the science department, and a complete refurbishment of all the science rooms was 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 photography. They are 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 bio-metric thumbprints, to help solve the problem of lost cards.

Finally, from 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 four houses led by a head of house. The four 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]

In 2016, the Arts building was demolished and has been replaced with a building which boasts its own theatre. The sixth form also resides in this building, with a large amount of teaching rooms, a large common room and a quiet study area. It also has its own cafe which is only for year 12 and 13 and teachers.

Notable alumini[edit]



External links[edit]