MSG1A SCHOOL that literally rose from the ashes is looking for new partners to continue its outstanding learning into the next decade and beyond.

Darlington’s mayor Brian Jones and the chairman of the Diocesan Board of Education Stuart Bain performed the honours at a special celebration at St George’s C of E Academy marking ten years in its current building.

They officially unveiled a huge wall-hanging featuring a dove of peace at the Middleton St George school, near Darlington.

Designed by creative arts leader Claire Bentley, the 8x9ft hanging features a dove of peace soaring over a rainbow capturing the spirit of the school and those connected to it.

In February 2003, the old building was raised to the ground with just three classrooms and a corridor surviving a devastating blaze.

Pupils and staff moved temporarily into the old Firth Moor Primary School with children being bussed between Darlington and Middleton St George for lessons.

They then returned to the village using temporary classrooms until the new school was built and opened in 2006.

Since then it has gone from strength to strength becoming an academy in 2012, securing an outstanding Ofsted rating and now becoming a multi academy trust that is looking for partner schools to join the successful centre of learning.

Coun Jones, who was accompanied by his wife Doris, said: “If you live in Middleton St George you will remember that fateful night when the fire took hold and the school was destroyed. It was very disturbing but look what has come out of it – it’s absolutely wonderful.”

The Venerable Bain, who is also Archdeacon of Sunderland, added: “Schools just don’t happen. They build the building but it is the whole community that makes this school what it is today.”

Guests were treated to a host of performances by pupils including dancing, singing, poetry, instrumental performances and celebrations of past success in sport.

Headteacher Janine Gleeson said: “The day went spectacularly well and we were thrilled so many people joined us to mark the passing of ten great years.

“This is a very exciting time for the school and the village and we are very much looking forward to sharing the unique factors that make St George’s Academy outstanding with any partner schools who would like to join our family as we expand our multi-academy trust.”