Hundreds of Durham primary school pupils work with glass to achieve national art accreditation  


Students from a primary school in County Durham have successfully completed a year-long arts project in collaboration with National Glass Centre, earning 280 pupils their Arts Award Discover.

Since 2018, every pupil at Catchgate Primary School has been taking part in National Glass Centre’s Around the World project, with each of them creating an artwork inspired by worldwide cultures.

Using traditional art and design styles from eight different countries for inspiration, older pupils designed and made their own fused panels, which were on display at the National Glass Centre this summer.

Working alongside artist Zoe Garner, the students have learned about glass fusing techniques, and have captured the culture of the countries through imaginative use of pattern and colour while making references to geographical points of interest.

Younger pupils took part in glass painting workshops creating artwork inspired by international literature, which are on display at the school for parents to go and see.

Participation in the project has earned nearly every pupil at the school their Arts Award Discover – the first of five levels of a nationally accredited qualification in art.

Around the World was coordinated by Year 6 teacher Christine Falconer, and Rachel Groves, Learning Officer at National Glass Centre who said:

“It’s been an absolute delight working with all the fantastic pupils at Catchgate Primary School. They’ve created some wonderful pieces of glass work over the past year and we encourage everyone to come along to enjoy them at National Glass Centre over the next few months!”

Joanne Shaw, Head Teacher at Catchgate Primary School, said:

“The idea behind the Around the World project was to broaden the children’s horizons and understanding of other cultures as it can be quite insular where our children live. It’s important to show students that not all learning has to be academic, and to explore multiple cultures in an engaging and stimulating way.

“We already work with Sunderland University and National Glass Centre and this project seemed like the perfect way to continue that relationship. We are really proud of all of our students and the exhibition they have produced, and we’re also excited to have something that we can take back to the school and put on display for parents and families to come and enjoy.”

Maureen Nair, Chair of Governors at Catchgate Primary School, added:

“This project has also given the children the ability to see how many different careers are available in the arts, especially in glass, which they might not otherwise have been aware of. Many thanks to National Glass Centre and congratulations to the school for providing this opportunity.”

National Glass Centre and Sunderland Culture are committed to providing arts education to ensure young people push themselves and really engage with the arts. National Glass Centre can support all levels of Arts Award, working in collaboration to develop and deliver a project that is relevant and inspiring. For more information:

For more information on the Around the World project visit:

Stay connected with Sunderland Culture Instagram Twitter Facebook