South Shields pupils get arty over endangered animals

A group of talented pupils have been getting arty while learning about endangered species.

South Shields-based artist Jane Lee McCracken taught kids at Harton Primary School about drawing and animals by running an art competition.

Jane, who has exhibited her work at the Customs House gallery, ran the competition across the whole East Avenue school, in South Shields, with pupils from each year group entering their creations depicting giraffes, lions, elephants and other animals.

She said: “I’d done some workshops in primary schools teaching kids about drawing and endangered animals.

“It was great running the competition and seeing the kids getting excited about drawing the animals, and they even did their own research to learn more about them.

“There was a really high standard of work and it was very difficult to pick out winners because every child worked so hard on their drawings.”

Each pupil paid £1 to take part and the profits of £256 were divided between the Born Free Foundation, an animal conservation charity, and the Sick Children’s Trust at Crawford House, Newcastle.

Jane created a poster with the winning entries to sell on to parents and raise more funds.

Debbie Robinson, a teacher at the school, said: “All of the pupils were involved from reception through to Year 6 and they had a whale of a time.

“Jane came in to announce the winners in an assembly and it was a real celebration of the children’s work and they were all so excited to find out who had won, there was a real buzz around the school.”

Year 5 pupil Kian Anderson took first prize while Year 5’s Kory Pearson came second and Reception pupil Tommy Henson came third.

Year 2 pupils Rhys Callender, Year 3’s John Dodswith, Year 4’s Rachael Mienie and Year 5’s Zak Johnson were also given award for their artwork.

A further 23 pupils were named runner-ups and all of them had their pictures included on the poster.

Jane added: “This is the first competition I’ve run and was hoping that if it was successful I’d be able to roll it out in other schools.

“It was just fantastic and I was quite overwhelmed by the amount of children that wanted to take part.

“I’d love to take it to other schools in South Shields and the region.”

Any schools interested in running a competition with Jane should contact her on or by going to