Guest blog: Gold Arts Award at Durham Sixth Form Centre, by Victoria Scholfield

25 October 2017

Guest blog: Gold Arts Award at Durham Sixth Form Centre, by Victoria Scholfield

Durham Sixth Form Centre offers Gold Arts Award to all Year 13 students, as an alternative qualification that sits alongside its curriculum plan. Here, Victoria Scholfield, Lead Teacher of Dance and Gold Arts Award Adviser at Durham Sixth Form Centre, explains more.

We feel Gold Arts Award offers an alternative qualification option, especially for those students who are interested in pursuing a career in the creative industries, and we're hoping to extend this to young people in Year 12 in the future. 

Last year, we successfully entered nine students for their Gold Arts Award for the first time; this academic year, we have 21 Gold Arts Award students, specialising in different art forms such as creative writing, photography, acting, dance, sculpture, graphic design, curation, and fine art. Students have two weekly sessions which include meeting with their Arts Adviser for classroom support, working independently on their portfolio and attending any relevant arts workshops and events to extend their arts practice.

With such a demand for the course, we use creative and digital tools to collate and organise the portfolios, as well as to communicate with our students, such as Google Classroom. Through this platform, students are given a copy of a portfolio template and work independently using Google Slides. This technology is so useful, as I can easily access students’ portfolios at any given time to support their learning, and I regularly upload the relevant resources to assist them in their Arts Award journey.

Seeing the whole student

Durham Sixth Form Centre is highly committed to ensuring all students have the opportunity to experience a well-rounded arts education, and offering Gold Arts Award forms part of our whole school vision. 

We offer Gold Arts Award so our students can develop their cultural, spiritual, creative and social wellbeing, equipping them with a unique arts education and experience. We feel offering the Gold Arts Award supports our students with impressive applications for UCAS, apprenticeships and future careers. 

Previous Gold Arts Award students have noticed a strong development in their organisation, communication and creativity and have become confident and articulate leaders in their art form. Our ambition now is to increase participation by offering Gold Arts Award as an option to Year 12 students, as well as extending our work with partnership organisations.

We also aim to use Arts Award as an opportunity to develop our students’ leadership skills for The Big Draw, the world's biggest drawing festival from the Campaign for Drawing, as well as for annual exhibitions, for building links with businesses, for hosting their own online shops and for BTEC Art and Design.

We also want to support the work of the wider arts, English and business faculty in realising our ambition to work towards achieving Platinum Artsmark.

Find out more

For more information about Arts Award, visit