Hampshire Now - your County Council magazine

Rowlands Castle outdoor learning area "amazes" Hampshire's education member

Friday 27 September 2013

Bare playgrounds and a field at Rowlands Castle St John's Church of England Primary School have been transformed dramatically into a brand new, inspirational outdoor learning area.

Staff and pupils at the school recently had the opportunity to show the County Council's Executive Member for Education, Councillor Peter Edgar, and Executive Member for Health and Wellbeing (Public Health), Councillor Liz Fairhurst, the difference the converted space has made to pupils' learning at the school.

In place of the previous blank canvas, is an outdoor performance area complete with stage, seating, a raised allotment and raised flower beds and a bamboo garden that includes a worship circle. There is also a woodland walk, including a story tree and dens.

Councillor Edgar commented: "This project is an excellent example of what can be achieved when the County Council's property and children's services departments work closely together with the school to help it improve the educational environment and boost young people's learning. This is an amazing facility and I am sure a welcome and popular improvement at the school. I have also been impressed to hear about the invaluable part played in developing this outdoor space, including all the fundraising, by staff, parents and governors."

Headteacher, Kay Pennicotte-Henrie, said: "It is wonderful to see what began as an idea for an outdoor learning space three years ago come to life. Our school motto is 'learning together' and this outdoor learning project can only serve to encourage this as much as possible. I am very grateful to all the support we have had from the school community and for all the enthusiasm shown by pupils in contributing valuable suggestions as we developed the designs. We have also been extremely fortunate to have had an enormous amount of support and generosity from the church, local businesses and councillors."

"We are lucky to have a wooded area and many open spaces. We know our children enjoy learning outside and being able to give them that opportunity is a great asset for the school. We look forward to extending this as we enter into the third and final phase of our long-term vision for this project."

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