Volunteers turn derelict wasteland into an outdoor classroom for youngsters at a Harborough district school

The new natural space includes a sensory garden, magnifiers, a bug hotel, information boards and ample seating for a whole class

Thursday, 29th April 2021, 11:18 am
Updated Thursday, 29th April 2021, 11:20 am
Children at Dunton Bassett Primary School enjoying outdoor classroom.

Pupils at a Harborough district primary school are looking forward to enjoying a new £3,000 outdoors classroom and wildlife haven – thanks to a dedicated team of volunteers.

The exciting new scheme has gone ahead at Dunton Bassett Primary School.

The project to get youngsters out and about has been spearheaded by the school’s Parents and Teachers’ Association (PTA).

Volunteers have rolled up their sleeves and turned derelict wasteland into an outdoor classroom – complete with sensory garden, magnifiers, a bug hotel and information boards.

The new natural space also includes a bird feeding area, composting station, and ample seating for a whole class.

Matthew Howard, the head of Dunton Bassett Primary School, said: “We are looking forward to using this brilliant, re-imagined space for everything from storytime to science lessons, group work, and forest school.

“Learning outside the classroom is an essential part of supporting the development of healthy and active lifestyles.

“The new space will offer our pupils unique opportunities, encouraging physical activity, freedom and movement.”

He added: “It will also support their well-being, improve confidence and provide many more positive health benefits.

“Thank you so much to our wonderful team of volunteers who made this happen.”

Liz Smith, chair of Dunton Bassett Primary School’s PTA, said: “We felt like this was the perfect time to create a fun outdoor space where the children can learn.

“That’s especially so as not all of them will have access to a garden and have been isolated on and off for the best part of a year.”

She added: “Fundraising efforts have proved difficult this year due to the pandemic.

“So we are incredibly grateful to the kind donations from Wind Farm Community Benefit Fund and PlanetMark.

“We’d also like to thank Mucky Ponds Cleaned who carried out the works and helped our vision become a reality.”

The bold blueprint kicked off at the end of December - and the final touches are just being completed.

The initiative was bankrolled by a £2,000 grant from the Wind Farm Community Benefit Fund and a £1,000 boost from sustainable set-up PlanetMark.

The scheme involved:

- clearing an overgrown area

- filling in pond and levelling the area

- laying weed matting to supress weeds

- handmaking the benches, magnifying posts and fencing

- building a bug hotel

- laying wood chippings throughout the area

- laying rubber mats for the pathways

- levelling concrete slabs

- planting a small garden area, bird houses, info boards, and tyre planters.