A primary school in South East Northumberland is encouraging children to learn about and explore the great outdoors through an innovative partnership with an outdoor experience provider.
Bothal Primary School in Ashington, one of two primary schools which formulate the Ashington Learning Partnership, has engaged Rothbury-based, Wild About Adventure, to help develop the outdoor learning facilities at its upper site and deliver activities as part of the school’s in-house sustainability programme.
Working together with staff and pupils and through donations from parents and volunteers, Wild About Adventure has transformed an area of outdoor space to the rear of the school into an interactive teaching and learning environment. The newly developed outside space includes a fire pit, large pond, a fully accessible sensory garden with raised flower beds, a vegetable patch and a ten-metre-long poly tunnel, which was funded by a £2,000 grant from Northumberland County Council.
Paul Mordue, director at Wild About Adventure who has been leading on the project at the school, said:
“The response we have had to the work we’ve been doing to develop the school’s outdoor areas has been really positive.
“The new learning spaces have provided the school with a fantastic new platform to engage the children and teach them about the environment, how to look after it and how to make things grow.
“It’s amazing to see how much the kids enjoy the outdoor sessions and how the benefits have been felt throughout the school. By linking the work that we do in the sessions back to the wider curriculum, we have been able to filter the teachings through various different subjects, all the while reinforcing key messages about sustainability.”
The work that Wild About Adventure has been delivering at Bothal Primary School is all part of the school’s longer-term ambition to become one of the region’s leading ‘green’ schools, utilising the skills within its STEM strategy.
Currently working towards securing a nationally recognised Eco-Schools Bronze Award, Bothal Primary already has its own in-house recycling scheme for paper and plastic, composts all of its kitchen waste for use in the gardens and discourages the use of single-use plastics through the provision of drinking fountains throughout the school. Looking to the future, the school’s longer-term sustainability goals include the installation of motion-sensored LED lighting for the classrooms and corridors and its own electricity-generating wind turbine.
Andy Roberts, executive principal at Ashington Learning Partnership Trust, said:
“We have got ambitious plans for the future at the Ashington Learning Partnership Trust.
“Our work to promote sustainability and to teach the children about the importance of looking after the environment is all part of the STEM principles we uphold across the primary and upper sites of both schools within the Ashington Learning Partnership.
“STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) is a vital part of children’s education and it is our firm belief that the younger that we can get children to engage with these subjects and the skillsets associated with them, the better.
“We are delighted with the work that Paul from Wild About Adventure has done with our staff and pupils to rejuvenate our outdoor space for positive use and the benefits this has brought to the children and the school.”
Working with 14 schools across the North East from Ashington to Darlington, Wild About Adventure has been delivering tailor-made outdoor solutions for schools, as well as corporate team building activities and adventure holiday clubs for children since 2015.