RCO announces Royal Hospital School, Holbrook as its first Accredited Institution

RCO announces Royal Hospital School, Holbrook as its first Accredited Institution


The Royal College of Organists (RCO) has announced the Royal Hospital School, Holbrook as the first ‘RCO Accredited Institution’.

Through its new Institutional Accreditation scheme the RCO aims to recognise and support organ and choral tuition at schools, colleges and other institutions in order to promote and maintain the highest standards in teaching and learning.

Institutional Accreditation forms part of the RCO’s wider accreditation programme, which already includes accreditation for individuals (through the RCO Certificate of Accredited Membership and the diploma examinations of Colleague, Associate, Fellow and Choral Directing) and of organ teaching (through the RCO Accredited Teacher scheme).

RCO Director of Studies Andrew McCrea said: “The College is delighted to announce that The Royal Hospital School, having been through each stage of the new accreditation process, will become the first establishment to acquire this new status.

“The Royal Hospital School has a lively and successful music department with over 400 pupils learning at least one musical instrument. The department supports an orchestra, an 80-strong chapel choir, a chamber choir, a ceremonial marching band, a concert band, a big band and numerous ensembles, including many rock and pop groups.

“The school has three pipe organs, two of which are housed in its magnificent, cathedral-sized chapel, and there are currently eight students learning the instrument. Last year, one student passed the RCO’s Associateship Diploma (ARCO) and gained an organ scholarship to Oriel College, Oxford.

“In recent years organ education has become a serious focus in the school, and thanks to its excellent resources, Holbrook has already gained a reputation as a centre for the organ through its regular recitals, which attract first-rate players, its organ open days and workshops for local schoolchildren, and as the home for the East of England Organ Day.”

Welcoming their success in the accreditation process, Edward Allen, Head of Academic Music at the Royal Hospital School said: “The school is delighted to receive this accreditation from the RCO as it acknowledges the first-rate provision of organ tuition that takes place here.

“We are looking forward to collaborating with the RCO on workshops and masterclasses in the coming years and being able to offer our pupils – and the wider community – some truly unique opportunities.”

The RCO examines and accredits under the aegis of its Royal Charter to promote and advance the arts and practice of organ playing and choral directing and related activities to the highest standards and artistry.

To ensure the highest academic quality and standards, the RCO’s accreditation procedure has been drawn up to accord with the principles contained in the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) Quality Code (March 2018). Re-accreditation of an institution will be carried out by the College every four years.

Successful institutions receive formal recognition of RCO-accredited status, and are able to offer their students a unique discounted Affiliate Student membership of the RCO, thus enabling students to benefit from the RCO’s courses and digital learning provision. Andrew McCrea explained that Institutional Accreditation is the formal aspect of a wider, looser – but no less important – partnership arrangement between the RCO and accredited institutions.

“For its part, the College commits to engaging positively with its accredited institutions in arranging or helping to arrange events, activities, on-site Certificate of Accredited Membership (CAM) examining and other tailored support for organ tuition and choral direction in the institution.

“In turn, the institution is expected to encourage engagement with the College, via Affiliate Student memberships and CAM and diploma accreditation, and through participation in RCO courses and events.

“This is an exciting new approach to building partnerships throughout the organ-teaching community, and one which we hope will gather significant momentum in the coming years.”

Click here for more information on RCO Accredited Institutions.

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