A SCHOOL has added a splash of colour to their walls and classrooms thanks to their artist in residence.

Catherine Mackay, of Ulverston Road, Dalton, has been bringing the walls of St Pius X Catholic School in Barrow to life with her colourful depictions of Christian and non-Christian themes.

Mrs Mackay previously taught at the school for five years, but since her retirement 10 years ago she has returned and has been painting round the clock.

“I was first approached by the headmaster at a fundraising event who was looking for someone to bring some colour to the school," she said.

“The majority of the paintings are on Christian themes, like the shepherd’s flock of sheep that run along the wall of the nursery, which the kids really enjoy.”

When asked why she wanted to do it, Mrs Mackay said: “I really love painting and it is really great to do paintings with underlying messages, like those of the Catholic faith.

“I also wanted to leave a lasting impression on the children’s lives, something they will always remember.

“The children have already shown such interest and fascination in the paintings, which is so great to see.”

Many of the paintings are right at children’s eye level, allowing them to walk around each day amongst the sheep and whimsical jungle characters.

Kevin McGoldrick, headteacher of St Pius X Catholic School, said: “The kids have absolutely loved having Catherine here painting away and she has made a huge effort to involve them.

“She even went round the school asking them about what stories they like and they have even given her some great ideas.

“The response has been great, visitors and parents have described it as magnificent.”

One of the key reasons Mr McGoldrick wanted the paintings was to make the school feel more child friendly, warm and inviting.

He wanted there to be a strong presence of children and a distinct catholic identity across the spaces.

The initiative was also part of Mr McGoldrick’s plans to raise the profile of the school, which has been going from strength to strength over the past few months.

Recently two new assistant headteachers and three more teachers have started, who have all been contributing towards the rising standards.

The school has also seen achievement levels on the rise with early years phonics scores above national average and key stage one attainment also on target.

It has also seen a 13 per cent increase across the board for key stage two reading and writing.

As well as the new paintings covering the walls, the school itself is currently being renovated.

They are having a new reception put in, which is due to be finished in January, and a new playground installed.