A primary school in Hartlepool is celebrating after landing a gold award for its commitment to promoting arts and cultural activities throughout the school.
Barnard Grove Primary School recently received the prestigious Artsmark Award from Arts Council England.
The Artsmark Award is the only creative quality standard for schools and was awarded after assessors were impressed by the school’s many initiatives.
They said: “Children are exposed to a range of experiences, both within school and beyond. Many of them are arts-based, including visits from artists and authors or trips to the theatre and cinemas.
“You plan with the Arts in mind and subject leads meet regularly to review the ways the Arts can play into more general learning.
“You have also used the Arts to help boost test results and using the cornerstones curriculum you feel that you are able to teach all subjects more effectively through the Arts.”
Dr Darren Henley OBE, Chief Executive of the Arts Council, commented:
“I would like to congratulate Barnard Grove Primary School on their Artsmark Award.
“Becoming an Artsmark school demonstrates that through offering a broad, ambitious, and creative curriculum, every pupil can develop character and resilience, increasing their knowledge, curiosity and skills that will remain with them through to adult life.”
The school, which is in the King Oswy area of Hartlepool, has 341 children on its roll and is judged to be a “good” school by Ofsted. It is one of eight primary schools within the Ad Astra Academy Trust.
Headteacher Lee Walker, said: “We are delighted to achieve our Artsmark Gold Award which recognises that as a school we are delivering high-quality arts and cultural opportunities as part of the curriculum.
“Staff throughout the school continue to work extremely hard to ensure that all of our pupils are creative and can access a diverse, high-quality cultural education.”
Helen Reed, who has played a key role at the school in helping to gain the Artsmark Gold Award, said: “It has been a real team effort across the school to ensure that the arts and cultural provision is embedded throughout the curriculum.
“Over time, we have increased the opportunities for pupils to learn through the Arts; both within school and through extra-curricular opportunities.
“Staff appreciate how the Arts can boost confidence and pupils’ overall attitude to learning.
“The school also offers a wide range of creative opportunities for children ranging from visits from authors to trips to the theatre.”
The Artsmark Award lasts for a period of two years – after which the school will have to make a fresh submission to Art Council England to retain it.
The other seven primary schools within Ad Astra Academy Trust are Brougham, West Park and West View in Hartlepool, Crooksbarn and Rosebrook in Stockton-on-Tees and Ayresome and Sunnyside in Middlesbrough.
For further information about Ad Astra Academy Trust, visit www.adastraschools.org