Brandon pupils get closer to nature in new woodland site

Launch of Forest School site at Forest Academy ANL-150324-160509009
Launch of Forest School site at Forest Academy ANL-150324-160509009
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Pupils in Brandon are able to learn in the great outdoors after the opening of a new woodland site at their school.

On Tuesday the Forest Academy celebrated the completion of two new outdoor spaces, constructed over the past few weeks with help from SP Lanscapes, to provide the children with a woodland area and a safer garden area.

Launch of Forest School site at Forest Academy''Pictured: Pupils in the new area ANL-150324-160601009

Launch of Forest School site at Forest Academy''Pictured: Pupils in the new area ANL-150324-160601009

Bordering the Forest Academy site and the sheltered housing complex Towlers Court, the woodland area has been leased to the school by Flagship Housing Group.

April Grimes, headteacher, said the school is working hard to increase children’s understanding and love of the outdoor environment.

“Although we live in a rural area, the children don’t play outside much,” she said.

“Most of the forest they see is managed, and there’s a perception that they can’t play there.

“This site was a piece of no man’s land, not really used by anybody, but Flagship said if we wanted to fence it off and make it safe we could use it.

“The fact that it is on our doorstep means we can go out there any time. I think we can learn a lot more from being outside.”

The overgrown garden area has been cut back, and the previously unsafe pond now has raised sides and a sturdy removeable cover.

Zoe Huff, a Forest School teacher who also works at the academy’s Elveden site, said she hopes to use the space with pupils to teach them about habitats, mini beasts and den building.

Holes have been left in the fencing to allow deer to continue their normal run through the woodland. There are also plans to purchase benches for the area.

Mrs Grimes added that the new spaces fit into the students’ recent learning about sustainable development, and the school’s aim to achieve an Eco Schools award.

“We’ve told them about how you can improve areas, but we must be careful not to go too far and destroy the natural landscape.”

The areas will also be available for residents of Towlers Court to use, and Mrs Grimes hopes to provide an opportunity for pupils and residents to meet there together.

Paula Bell, Flagship community manager, said: “We have been delighted to work with Forest Academy to provide this wooded area for their new outdoor lessons.”