Arts Mark Gold Award

We're delighted to announce that after many months of hard work we have achieved Arts Mark Gold status, the press release is as follows.

St Mary’s RC First School, Swanage awarded Gold Artsmark

Arts Council England has awarded an Gold Artsmark to St Mary’s RC First School, Swanage in recognition of the school’s commitment to, and excellence in, arts education.

Since Artsmark began 9 years ago, more than 16 per cent of schools in England have achieved the high standards of the Award. 1650 new schools will receive the award this year.

Maeve Baker, Head teacher of St Mary’s RC School in Swanage, said:

 “I’m delighted that the Arts Council has recognised St Mary’s dynamic arts education programme. Living on the Jurassic coast is an inspiration environment. We have been able to use it as an outdoor classroom. St Mary’s children took part in the Sea Sure Marine Project in a partnership between Dorset Wildlife Trust and the local artist Antonia Phillips.  Using the marine environment for inspiration the children produced Perspex panels which are displayed in the Swanage Heritage Centre.
Our children have really enjoyed working with Annie Campbell, a local sculptor.  Using natural resources such as stone, wood and sand, the children were all involved in creating installation sculpture.

St Mary’s have had sculptures included in the National Gallery, London as part of the Take One Picture Project.  The school was selected as one of seven schools from thousands of entries.

Music for all at St Mary’s is inspired by Jay Buckle a well known conductor of adult choirs and orchestras in Swanage.   She and a range of peripatetic instrumental teachers work with our children throughout the year. Our annual Christmas play performed at the Mowlem, the Summer Concert, our involvement with the Purbeck and Swanage Arts Festivals are all celebrations of the quality of music at St Mary’s.

Dance and drama are areas which we are eager to develop.  We have been supported by Sue Davis, the dance advisory teacher for Dorset.  We have had visiting dance specialist teachers from Asia, India and Africa working with us to help the children appreciate cultures they would not otherwise come into contact with.

Multi-cultural awareness is a key priority of our School Development Plan next year when we plan to work with African schools as link schools as part of a cultural exchange.

I’d like to thank all our staff for their hard work in achieving this award.”

Arts Council England, South West Executive Director Chris Humphrey said:

“Arts Council England is committed to great art for everyone and we believe that if children are creatively inspired at an early age, they are more likely to have a lifelong engagement with the arts. Artsmark sets the standard for outstanding arts in schools and this Gold Artsmark Award recognises St Mary’s RC First School’s passion for the arts and belief in the power of creativity. It’s great to see the enthusiasm the Award encourages in the teachers, students and local communities – they should be proud of what they have achieved.”

To receive an Artsmark, a school must dedicate a minimum of 10 per cent of its curricular teaching time to the arts; 12 per cent wins a Silver Artsmark and 15 per cent qualifies for Artsmark Gold. An Artsmark school also provides teachers’ professional development and involvement with local artists and arts groups.

Any school in England can apply for Artsmark at:

For further information contact:
Maeve Baker of St Mary’s RC First School, 01929 424909 or

Arts Council England, South West
Gillian Taylor 01392 229207 or 07989 430881

Notes to editors:

1. Artsmark is a national scheme developed by Arts Council England in partnership with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, the Department of Education and Skills, the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, OfSTED.

Awards are offered annually and are valid for three years. Schools may re-apply for a higher level award within these three years, and they may also apply after their three year award is over.

3. Arts Council England works to get great art to everyone by championing, developing and investing in artistic experiences that enrich people’s lives.

As the national development agency for the arts, we support a range of artistic activities from theatre to music, literature to dance, photography to digital art, and carnival to crafts.

Great art inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves, and the world around us. In short, it makes life better.

Between 2008 and 2011, we will invest £1.3 billion of public money from government and a further £0.3 billion from the National Lottery to create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country.


by: zak on 18/04/2014
 On Thursday 3rd April, year 5 of St. Mary’s RC Primary School, Swanage presented speeches for the CAFOD project, “Speak up for CAFOD” to local dignitaries of the town council as well as local representatives of Fair Trade and Christian Aid. See main article for photo.

by: zak on 30/03/2014
Sport Relief at St Mary's

by: bluelevel on 14/03/2014
Sport Relief/Parent Interviews/
Easter Holidays

by: zak on 07/01/2014

Pupils (and some staff) turned out in their best
pyjamas to enjoy some bedtime reading.
See more photos!

by: zak on 01/01/2014

Sixth formers from The Purbeck School
delivered workshops about the Human Body.