28th May 1999 at 01:00
(Photograph) - A week in the life of Portway primary school, London borough of Newham

All 650 pupils at the school and parents rolled up their sleeves, squeezed out tubes of paint and got their hands into bowls of dye when arts co-ordinator Jane Benton, helped by teacher and former artist, Philip Morgan, organised an arts week. Headteacher Tom Jameson says the idea was to give the children a greater chance to experiment than is usual in a timetable constrained by the literacy hour and numeracy strategy. It also brought pupils at the school, created a year ago by the amalgamation of an infants and junior school, closer together. More than 20 per cent of the pupils at the school are refugees, mainly from South America, Lithuania and Somalia. Parents' contributions included work by a Covent Garden milliner and an oil painting by the uncle of a pupil who worked in the school hall so all could watch.


* Bright and beautiful: batik by Year 5

* Year 6 interpret Picasso's 'Guernica'

* Teacher assistant Angie takes the hands-on approach

* Top marks: Debbie admires the whole school's hand prints

* Prints charming: the reception class record their finger marks

* Aaron makes the most of a mosaic

* Paul, left, and Liam imitate Andie Warhol

* Nicholas finds a tie to dye for

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