YOUNG artists have produced two feathered friends to brighten up their school.

The year five and six pupils at Moorside Primary School, near Consett, spent two days with artist Keith Alexander, creating two giant birds sculptures.

They built wood and wire frames, then invited their parents to help apply the papier mache covering.

The school is one of eight in Derwentside and Chester-le-Street chosen to take part in a Forging the Future scheme.

Run by The Forge - Durham and Sunderland's Arts in Education Agency - the scheme will give children and teachers the chance to work on long-term projects with the artist and art forms of their choice.

Forge director Tony Harrington said: "We are delighted that we've been given the go-ahead to run a project of this scale in Durham.

"Participation in the arts is so important for young people. Research has shown how this increases confidence and self-esteem, but also enhances social skills and personal development.

"Not only will this project make an impact on the young people and teachers involved, it will raise important questions about the role the arts has to play in our children's education."

Funding comes from Durham County Council, Derwentside and Chester-le-Street district councils, and the European Single Regeneration Budget.

Moorside headteacher Janet Wrightson said: "It has been a wonderful experience for the children and they were so proud of what they achieved."

Other schools involved in Derwentside are Bloemfontein Primary, Leadgate Infants and Nursery, Moorside Community, and South Moor Greenland Community Infants.

Taking part in Chester-le-Street are Hermitage School, Lumley Junior and Lumley Medway Infants.