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Ormiston Chadwick Academy

In December 2017 the Wolfson Foundation awarded £30,000 towards IT equipment for the music department.


Wolfson funding programme: Secondary Education
Grant awarded: December 2017
Project completed: October 2018
Total project cost: £30,000
Wolfson funding: £30,000


The school

Ormiston Chadwick Academy (OCA) had not received funding from the Wolfson Foundation previously but saw a strong match between the Foundation’s eligibility criteria and their recent achievements. Within three years of opening OCA had received an ‘Outstanding’ Ofsted rating and achieved impressive Progress 8 scores in its first two years of GCSE results. Beyond its academic performance the school also showed a clear commitment to creating a nurturing and supportive wider school environment. Prior to submitting their application, for example, OCA had been recognised as an Inclusion Quality Mark Centre of Excellence and been awarded Artsmark Gold by Arts Council England for their commitment to creating an inclusive cultural entitlement of the highest quality for all students.

  • Our communities have entrenched deprivation, with poor experiences of school often stretching back over several generations. Embedding music in the culture of OCA is contributing to us creating a more positive future.

Ormiston Chadwick Academy

The ambition

Ormiston Chadwick Academy’s application clearly communicated the high importance they placed on music, both as an academic subject and as a tool for building community. When the school opened in 2014 there were no students taking music at GCSE. With a clear aim to make music a key feature of the school’s curriculum, the school chose to undertake a significant investment in its music provision, creating a recording studio and appointing a new Head of Music. By the start of the 2017/18 academic year there were 26 students beginning their GCSE music studies.

Following this initial success staff were keen to continue the momentum; to enhance further their offer so that students would to continue to choose music as a subject at Key Stage 4 and to raise their attainment in Key Stage 4 qualifications more widely. They proposed to do this through the purchase of specialist IT equipment to create a more efficient, engaging and dynamic music learning environment.

The result

Wolfson funding enabled Ormiston Chadwick Academy to purchase 20 new computers for its music department as well as specialist MIDI controllers, session mixers, drum machines and music notation software. The new facilities have enabled group learning of music and a deeper understanding of the curriculum, introducing students to the tools of modern music making, production and editing. 

Funding from Wolfson has made a vital contribution to the development of music at Ormiston Chadwick Academy. Students have appreciated the Musical Futures method of music instruction made possible by the funding, and the department continues to grow, having taken on another member of staff since Wolfson’s investment.

  • We valued the approach taken by the Wolfson Foundation in allocating funding. The two-stage process meant we did not have to invest a lot of time and effort without any sense of whether we would be successful. [They] made us feel they were serious about their funding strategy and gave us the opportunity to showcase the work of the music department at OCA.

Ormiston Chadwick Academy