FIVE Yorkshire Dales schools are celebrating after being recognised through a national scheme for their commitment to teaching the arts.
Schools in Skipton, Harrogate and Croft are among 136 from across Yorkshire which have been awarded the coveted Artsmark from the Arts Council in England.
There is a real strong commitment in this region to arts and creativity in education and the benefits this can bring to schools and young
Andy Carver - Arts Council England
The Artsmark award recognises schools that have made a strong commitment to the arts and that have developed a nationally recognised range of arts provision for their pupils. The aim of the award is to encourage schools to increase the range of arts activities for pupils and to raise the profile of arts education across the country.
There are three levels of the award: Artsmark, Artsmark Silver, and Artsmark Gold. Awards are offered annually and are valid for a period of three years.
Skipton's Water Street Community Primary School, along with the town's Christ Church Primary School was awarded a Silver Artsmark. Croft Primary School was awarded a Gold Artsmark, as was Harrogate's All Saints Primary School. Western Primary School, also in Harrogate, was handed a Silver Artsmark award.
Andy Carver, Executive Director of Arts Council England, said: "I am delighted to see that the number of Yorkshire schools achieving Artsmark status has increased yet again this year.
"There is a real strong commitment in this region to arts and creativity in education and the benefits this can bring to schools and young people. Enhancing opportunities for young people to engage with the arts is central to our work and the awards symbolise the importance of the arts and creativity in education.
"The children and the teaching staff can be proud of their success. We send our warmest congratulations to all the schools and encourage others to apply for the next round."
The closing date for the next round of Artsmark is in November. All schools - primary, middle, secondary, special, maintained and independent - are eligible to apply.
Further information and details of how to apply are available at www.artsmark.org.uk or by calling the Artsmark Helpline on 0800 0560 196.