Case study: Old Palace of John Whitgift School

Case study: Old Palace of John Whitgift School

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BY: Alan Lynch
05 Sep 2018

Old Palace of John Whitgift School is a nursery to sixth form girls independent school based in Croydon. They have so far supported the achievement of 18 Discover, 14 Explore, over 80 Bronze and 40 Silver awards and are also working towards 10 Gold Arts Awards.

The school introduced Bronze and Silver Arts Award as part of the curriculum in years 10 and 11 over three years ago. The award is offered as an option instead of core PE activities and is delivered through dance. The school has now expanded its offer with the Gold Award as an enrichment activity in the sixth form and Arts Award Explore being a compulsory element of the Year 6 curriculum. Arts Award Discover was introduced at the preparatory school and delivered as an extra curricular activity within the Preparatory Dance Company sessions for Gifted and Talented dancers in Year 3-5.


Discover: Year 3-5 girls auditioned to get into the Preparatory Dance Company. They completed Part A by describing the dance activities they did, including pictures of their performances. For Part B they researched artists in an art form of their choice, creating collages and presenting their research. For Part C they performed their dances and talked about their artists and the skills they learned in a whole school assembly attended by parents.

Explore: students in Year 6 undertook Arts Award Explore as part of the expressive movement curriculum. For Part A they recorded two different arts activities within the extra curricular timetable, researched artists and arts organisations for Part B by taking part in workshops and interviewing processes, created their own play using drama and dance for Part C, and shared their work through individual presentations to friends and family for Part D.

Bronze: For Part A they took part in various dance workshops to develop skills and then they took part in the annual Dance Show to show their learning. Students chose a show to attend as a group for Part B. They selected an arts hero of their own choice and presented findings in any format of their choice for Part C. Within Part D some students led warm ups, ran lunchtime clubs, taught each other dance routines and different styles such as street dance, contemporary or Tudor dance.

Silver: For Unit 1 Parts A and B, students set their own individual dance challenges specific to their personal learning, such as choreographing dances and performing more challenging work which was shared as a group. For Unit 1 Part C, a range of shows chosen by the students were reviewed and theatre trips were arranged. For Unit 1 Part D, students took part in a range of activities, from work experience to visits and interviews with artists.

Unit 2 projects included running auditions for the dance show, making a film, running a day of dance workshops for Year 4 & 5 and running lunchtime dance clubs. Portfolio evidence ranged from Youtube online portfolios, to Prezi presentations, books and posters.


Arts Award is very much part of the school offer and students talking about it creates a positive atmosphere within the school. Numbers of students taking part have doubled at Bronze level and more students are opting to take part in Year 10.

Arts Award has also provided additional qualifications within the enrichment offer at sixth form. The school feels this provides a unique selling point for students when applying to universities.

‘Arts Award enables you to facilitate a more student led curriculum; it is different each time you deliver it and this fascinates me as an artist and teacher.’ - Corrie Lunghi, Subject Leader – Dance

Arts Award has allowed me to combine dance, drama and writing. I have been able to think creatively and independently by deciding at each level what my project will be. Gold Arts Award allowed me to have the most freedom and create and write about things in the arts industry I am truly passionate about. Progressing through the different levels has allowed me to build up my skills as well as giving me the chance to experience different art forms. It has expanded my mind, movement and creativity.’ - Holly, Year 13 Bronze and Silver Award achiever, currently working towards her Gold Award.

Arts Award has helped me become aware of different issues and debates that exist in the arts world and has helped me formulate my individual opinion on them. Gold Arts Award has been my favourite because it has opened up so many new opportunities for me, from dabbling in new styles of dance to teaching children in a different country.’ - Rhema, Year 13 Bronze and Silver Award achiever, currently working towards her Gold Award.

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