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Children go wild outdoors

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Pupils in Ashington are getting back to nature in the great outdoors as part of an innovative new project.

Bothal Primary School has teamed up with Rothbury outdoor experience provider Wild About Adventure to develop a new interactive teaching and learning environment.

The outdoor space includes a fire pit, large pond, a fully accessible sensory garden with raised flower beds, a vegetable patch and a 10m-long poly tunnel.

It has been funded through donations from parents and volunteers, as well as a £2,000 grant from Northumberland County Council.

Wild About Adventure is also offering a range of activities as part of the school’s sustainability programme.

Paul Mordue, director at Wild About Adventure, 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 subjects, all the while reinforcing key messages about sustainability.”

The project is part of the school’s longer-term ambition to become one of the region’s leading ‘green’ schools. Bothal Primary, which is part of Ashington Learning Partnership Trust, is working towards a nationally recognised Eco-Schools Bronze Award.

It already has its own recycling scheme for paper and plastic, composts kitchen waste for use in the gardens, and discourages the use of single-use plastics by providing drinking fountains.

The school’s longer-term goals include motion-sensored lighting and its own wind turbine.

Andy Roberts, executive principal at the trust, said: “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.”