A Sedgefield teacher has won a national award for piloting a scheme to introduce martial arts into the school curriculum.

Darren Langthorne, a teacher at Sedgefield Community College, came up with the idea when the school was awarded specialist sports college status.

He approached the British National Martial Arts Association which in turn put him in touch with Mastarr, an organisation which is trying to apply educational standards to martial arts teaching.

Mr Langthorne ran a pilot course in school, which about 40 students have successfully completed.

The course was so successful that it may well be included as part of the GCSE course work for PE in future years.

Mr Langthorne said: "I've always been interested in martial arts and teaching, but I've never thought of putting the two together before.

"I'm now thinking of developing this for other schools who want to do it.

"Some of the students took it on thinking it would be a good laugh and realised part way through it was hard work, but a good proportion have enjoyed it and it's been quite well received."

Mr Langthorne's efforts have been recognised by the British National Martial Arts Association, which has presented him with an award for dedication to and development of the martial arts.

He has also been inducted as a lifelong honorary member of the association.