Siobhan Fogarty, Head of Creative Arts, at Sackville School, Hildenborough with specialisms in Drama and Media Studies

WT talks to Siobhan Fogarty, Head of Creative Arts, at Sackville School about how they encourage their pupils to look beyond traditional, academic studies and towards a more creative career path.

Does your school give equal weight to non-academic subjects?

I am fortunate in that Sackville appreciates the importance of the creative arts in developing confidence and wellbeing. All students experience a wide range of Visual Arts, Drama, Music and Film making, both in time-tabled lessons and through extracurricular activities. My background as a professional actor, scriptwriter and film maker has been invaluable for developing the creative arts within school. I am also Director of The Curious Theatre Company which is based in Sackville's 'The Space' studio theatre.

Are pupils encouraged to follow a creative career?

We encourage our students to believe that anything is possible in life and if they wish to pursue a career in the creative industries we give them our full support. Our recent careers fair had a number of alumni attending as exhibitors representing a broad range of occupations which included architectural model making, technical theatre, animation and professional music practitioners.

How does the school help to 'broaden horizons'?

I firmly believe in exposing students to a broad range of artistic influences. We have an annual West End theatre trip and also host workshops by innovative performance companies. Each year we hold an Arts Week which embraces cross-curricular learning and culminates with a school production which this year will be an ecological piece staged outside in the school grounds; I am a great believer in utilising 'found' performance spaces.

What interesting careers have pupils gone on to follow?

We were delighted when former student, James Benmore, was guest of honour at our Prize Giving. James is the author of a series of novels based on Charles Dickens' character 'The Artful Dodger'. His third book, Dodger of the Revolution, will be published by Quercus on 22 September.

Sackville School, Tonbridge Road, Hildenborough, Kent TN11 9HN. 01732 836447.