TRIBUTES have been paid to the dedicated work of a much-loved arts coordinator as her school was awarded a prestigious Artsmark continuing her legacy of enriching lives.

Jaquie Holloway died after a short illness last year to the consternation of colleagues, students and the community in Bishop Auckland.

But her work lives on after St John’s Catholic School and Sixth Form College was awarded the coveted Artsmark by Arts Council England.

The accolade recognises the work the school does to enrich young people’s learning through the arts at a time when the national focus in education has moved to more academic subjects.

Ms Holloway's mantle was adopted by the head of drama Natalie Rose, supported by St John’s head teacher Lisa Byron, who were determined that her work should be a permanent legacy benefiting young people for years to come.

The award not only looks at the school’s current arts provision in terms of core subjects and extra-curricular activities but also plans for the next two years.

“Even when Jaquie was ill she wanted to make sure everything was in place to protect the arts in school – it is her legacy,” said Mrs Rose. “I wanted to make sure we did her proud.

“It was a challenge, particularly with Covid which prevented some of the projects happening, but we pulled together an arts focus group of people who had been involved, looked at the impact the arts had had and what we could do to improve it further.”

Mrs Byron added: “Jaquie was an inspiration to us all and she touched the hearts of many students, staff and families within and beyond St John’s. We miss her every day but her love of the arts is evident throughout our school and her legacy lives on within our learning community.”