A picture is said to paint a thousand words, and that’s certainly the case at a Northumberland school, where pupils have gone to creative lengths to express their sense of community. The children at St Robert’s Catholic First School in Morpeth have designed and painted their very own mural, which represents the school’s ethos in the form of original artwork created from an amalgamation of different pupils’ designs.

We had an old and rotten mural on our fence,” said Headteacher David Sutcliffe. “Having looked into getting professional artists to help us create a new mural, and discovering that it would be extremely expensive, we decided to try to create a new mural ourselves.

The project involved four, large wooden boards, acrylic paint and yacht varnish, and was completed over a three-week period by Year 4 children working with the assistance of the school’s Art Lead, Alice Butler.

We wanted the children to be involved with the mural design, and had a competition in school to gather their ideas,” continued Mr Sutcliffe. “The design competition was open to the whole school, and we had around 60 entries. There were four winners – one from Reception, one from Year 3, and two from Year 4. We wanted the designs to be bright and eye-catching, and to reflect what is important to us in school. The designs we chose all had different elements that when combined created a lovely image.

The finished mural also represents the core values of St Robert’s, a member of the Bishop Bewick Catholic Education Trust.

Our six ‘bees’ (school core values) are all on the mural,” explained Mr Sutcliffe. “Be happy, be respectful, be spiritual, be honest, be kind, be the best you can. It also has a lovely church depicted by a reception child, full of stick people, which illustrates how close we are to our church and how important it is to us. In addition, the trees show the seasons and the passing of time, and the leaves were made using the handprints of the children, showing our growth and development. Finally, a lot of the entries had a rainbow on – the children remembered it as a symbol of hope during Covid – and we felt it was important to include that too.

The children who helped with the painting were all in Year 4. Staff also enjoyed contributing, and some spent several hours painting side-by-side with the children.

The vibrant artwork has pride of place in St Robert’s playground where it is making a favourable impression on visitors to the school.

The parish community and parish priest have all commented on the mural,” added Mr Sutcliffe. “They love the bright colours and the fact that the children designed and created it. It has made our playground very welcoming and shows visitors what is important to us at St Robert’s. We love being creative and sharing our ideas. We are known in our town as a school that celebrates and displays the work of our children, and we love to share what we have been working on with the wider community.

Our mural celebrates our core values, our mission statement and our environment. We are extremely proud of our work.

Sent on behalf of Bishop Bewick Catholic Education Trust and Barking Dog Media. For more information contact david@barkingdogmedia.co.uk or call 07754 271086.