A FLEET school has proved itself to be one of the best in the south after winning a top award.

All Saints Church of England Junior School is celebrating having been presented with the Artsmark Gold Award.

It is one of only eight schools in the south which have been handed the prestigious title.

The Arts Council of England's Artsmark award recognises schools which demonstrate a commitment to providing opportunities across all the arts from drama to music, design to literature and dance to sculpture.

The scheme also encourages schools to work in partnership with artists and art organisations.

Awards are given annually at three levels - Artsmark, Artsmark Silver and Artsmark Gold.

Each award is valid for three years, although schools can apply to upgrade their award during that time.

Head Janet Roberts said: "I am delighted that the Arts Council has recognised our school's commitment to creativity across the whole curriculum.

"We believe it raises educational standards by boosting children's self-confidence and self-esteem and develops their capacity for independent and original thinking.

"We provide opportunities for our pupils to develop their creative potential through drama, music, design, literature, dance and art that will hopefully last a lifetime.

"We want them to reach for the stars. There is a huge amount of arts activity taking place at All Saints."

Peter Hewitt, chief executive of the Arts Council of England, said: "Artsmark celebrates the importance of the arts in education and rewards the commitment of schools to introducing children to the arts at an early age.

"We hope this interest will stay with them all their lives.

"All the schools displaying the Artsmark badge have demonstrated that they are concerned with the wider development of young people, not only with academic success.

"This will benefit not only the children but society as a whole too."

Hampshire County Council chairman Cllr Peter Hutcheson, who is also a Hart councillor, presented the award to the school.

It celebrated with a special assembly featuring three former pupils - Victoria Tester and Hannah Grayson, who performed flute solos, and Eloisa Thom, the reigning Hart Young Musician of the Year, who gave a violin solo.

Pictured from left with the Artsmark award are Alison Wyld, Janet Roberts and Anne Wetton.