A NORTH-EAST academy has been recognised with a national award for the opportunities it gives young people to explore and share their views on a wide range of topical issues.

The King's Academy, in Coulby Newham, Middlesbrough, has received an achievement award from PSHE For Life, an internationally recognised education resource for teachers and health professionals, for the quality of its teaching and the time it gives students to discuss and debate subjects from war to parenthood, drug abuse to debt.

The academy devotes every week of the school year to a topical theme which students discuss before lessons begin in daily tutor reflections and upon which senior teachers base weekly assemblies.

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Andrew Hutchinson, co- founder of PSHE For Life, said: "At The King’s Academy they take large subjects in tutor reflections and then allow young people to take these themes and bring the issues to their own circumstances and relate them to what's happening in their own lives."

Student Ben Rowden said he thought it was a good thing to encourage informal discussion among young people in the personal, social, health and economic topics that make up PSHE education.

"It's a very fluid subject so it has to be given a fluid way of being taught," he explained.

Vice principal John Rhodes said the weekly themes provided an important base for PSHE and for preparing students for life outside school.

"Our students are very important to us and we want them to love coming to school.

"Our philosophy is to help them achieve their personal best then for them to take their place in society and be confident about what they can offer."

The story of the Academy's success can be viewed at psheforlife.co.uk