A NORTH-EAST school’s artistic ambitions have been recognised with a prestigious award.

Parkside Academy, in Willington, County Durham, has been presented with an Artsmark Platinum Award by Arts Council England in recognition of the school’s championing the arts, and placing creative teaching at the heart of its curriculum.

Art teacher, Kirstie Dunn, said: “We’re really excited to have been awarded the highest possible tier of the Artsmark Award by Arts Council England. We’ve worked really hard towards it, boosting the arts not just within out school, but also within the surrounding community.

“We’ve made creativity one of our key values in school, and art is now an element of every subject. Creative teaching is really important at Parkside, so we’re delighted to be recognised for embracing the arts throughout the wider curriculum.”

The Platinum award recognises that Parkside Academy, which is part of the Advance Learning Partnership, is a leading authority on art education, and that its efforts to incorporate art with other subjects make a significant positive impact on students.

In feedback to the school, Arts Council England said: “Parkside Academy has built on the foundations of its previous Artsmark work, maintaining an arts rich approach to teaching and learning within your own setting. The variety and quality of your work helps fulfil the potential the arts can have to unlock learning and improve children's attitude to engaging with tasks.

“Now your arts-rich work is acknowledged as an embedded part of the way you do things through your commitment to creativity. You design learning experiences that are innovative, curious and embrace new challenges across your revised curriculum.”

Amy-Rose Robinson, Parkside’s Head Girl who hopes to achieve her GCSE in art this year, said: “Art has always been my favourite subject, and I knew from an early age I wanted to pursue it.

“I found it very encouraging to be able to experiment creatively, and my teachers were very supportive of that. I think it’s been very important for my future to develop creative skills and to be able to explore those, so I think it’s a great thing that Parkside has received this award.”