10k outdoor classroom transforms children learning

Children at a Stafford Primary School are able to learn outdoors, thanks to support from a Staffordshire regeneration charity.

The £10,000 project to create a new outdoor classroom and nature area at St Andrew’s Church of England Primary School in Weston was funded through a grant from the Realise Foundation, which is part of the Aspire Group, based in Newcastle-under-Lyme.
PM Training, which places more than 1,300 young people a year in apprenticeships, has a training centre in Stafford and is also part of the Aspire Group.
Paul Hayward, head teacher at St Andrew’s School, said: “Our early years play area used to be a rectangle of tarmac with inadequate cover and it lacked opportunities for the children to learn and play.
“PM Training from Stafford, carried out some work for the school when we had an extension built. They mentioned that if we applied we might be able to get funding from the Realise Foundation.
“Now we are delighted to have a lovely wooden outdoor classroom which facilitates a more continuous curriculum for the children.
“It is the focal point of the early years play area. It is used for learning and playing during the day and occasionally by our after school club. It has transformed learning opportunities for our reception children.”
The children and parents of the school have been so impressed that they have decided to hold a cake sale to raise further funds for the Realise Foundation.
The classroom is being given an official opening on Thursday 24 October at 10am when children, teachers and representatives of the Aspire Group will be present.
Apprentices from PM Training helped to build the classroom as part of their work-based learning. In addition, other staff from Aspire Group have volunteered to help paint the school’s kitchen.
Will Nixon, chief executive of the Realise Foundation and PM Training, said: “Part of the work of the Realise Foundation is to improve the environment in local communities were Aspire operates.
“A school like St Andrew’s is a tremendous community facility and we are very pleased to provide this lovely new outdoor classroom.
“It’s also good news that apprentices from PM Training can help get into work through this project.”