Forest school for the future established at Walkden High

21 July 2016

Walkden High School is set to benefit from a new forest school area, complete with mini-orchard, food growing area, raised beds and hundreds of trees, thanks to players of a charity lottery.

City of Trees has been working with the secondary school in Walkden to create a forest school area, which will be used by pupils for outdoor learning activities such den building, outdoor cooking and fire-lighting.

Walden High’s forest school of the future has been realised thanks to players of a charity lottery, with £12,000 awarded by Postcode Community Trust, a grant-giving charity, funded entirely by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

The new forest school area, which is due to be complete in July, will see 200 trees planted amongst the grounds including 10 fruit trees such as apple, pear, plum and cherry.

There will also be raised beds, which pupils from Years 9 – 11 have been creating as part of their woodwork lessons, as well as a food growing area to be used by the whole school.

Outdoor learning is becoming increasingly popular across the region with hundreds of schools utilising environmental resources to develop teamwork, confidence and healthy activity amongst pupils.

The benefits of outdoor education are widely known with evidence showing that higher levels of exposure to green spaces are associated with improved cognitive development in children, as well as nature-based education supporting significant improvements in social studies, science, language, arts and maths.

Kevin Wigley, from the City of Trees team comments; “Forest schools offer a unique hands-on learning experience in an outdoor environment, which is especially important in today’s technology-focussed world”.

He adds; “Outdoor learning helps children to learn about the trees, woods and wildlife on their doorstep and re-establish that important connection between us and the natural world”.

As part of the initiative, a teacher from the school will receive Level 3 Forest School training to enable them to deliver future forest school sessions, with taster sessions taking part with pupils to give them a feel for the great outdoors.

Lisa Dronfield, the teacher who will be undertaking the training, comments; “These sessions have enabled us to provide classroom learning in a fun, interactive outdoor environment.

The creation of the forest area will allow the school to support our pupils with their personal, social and technical skills as well as build on their self – esteem and confidence levels through hands-on learning in a woodland environment.”