STUDENTS proved to be a class ACT in an initiative designed to promote good citizenship and community spirit.
West Park Academy in Darlington has been awarded the Citizenship Quality Standard making it the only school in Darlington to receive the accolade for the second year running.
The whole of the community came together to develop an outdoor area with pupils having the loudest voice in the decision making process.
The result, a £50,000 community facility, features a sensory garden with access for people with disabilities; an adventure trail to encourage healthy lifestyle activities and develop skills; a bandstand-cum-gazebo which will double as an outdoor classroom for 30 pupils; storage for local groups including guides, brownies, scouts and the Army; textured footpaths for barefoot strolls; outdoor musical instruments and mirrors; a mud garden for digging; and a place for quiet reflection in an area where there is no nearby church.
Almost £40,000 was secured from the Ministry of Defence’s Community Covenant with an additional £10,000 being raised by the school.
Presenting the award council member for the Association for Citizenship Teaching (ACT) Alun Davies said: “You should be extremely proud to achieve this for the second year running.
“The scheme equips young people with the skills needed to become global citizens. It helps them develop an understanding of themselves and make sense of their place in the world.”
Darlington Borough Council’s lead member for children and young people Cyndi Hughes said: “The work you are doing has made a real impact on your community and I hope you will use the experience to grow for the rest of your lives.”
Head teacher Catherine Thompson added: “We could not have achieved this without all the hard work of the parents, children, teachers and members of the community.
“The school council has been extremely proactive and pupils feel valued for having their voice heard.”