Two Bridlington-based schools have joined forces to share learning and experiences through the Nature Friendly Schools project and beyond in a bid to take their outdoor learning journeys to new heights.
Burlington Junior School blazed the trail as one of the first to sign up to Nature Friendly Schools back in 2019, while New Pasture Lane Primary School is one of nearly 100 schools currently participating in year two of the project.
A whole-school approach to “champion and promote the benefits of the natural world to schools and the local community” was touted as an important potential impact of Nature Friendly Schools interventions, and to see it working in practice is of real significance to the legacy and influence of the project.
Matthew Clark of Burlington Junior School, is the school’s year six lead and Nature Friendly Schools coordinator. He explains: "Our first year of developing outdoor learning through Nature Friendly Schools was a very positive experience for both pupils and staff. Pupils really enjoyed the work completed with Nature Friendly Schools Education Officer Andy, who has worked with us and supported us on our journey. As part of Nature Friendly Schools, we developed our pond and garden area, and have since developed this further. We now have an outdoor learning room and have established a meadow area which was a joy to see develop this year. The project gave us an opportunity to extend our learning experiences and our pupils have been very engaged with the activities we have provided for them.”
Through the project, Burlington Junior School also accessed a comprehensive package of continual professional development, which included bespoke training in the Academic Resilience Approach, delivered by our partner YoungMinds. This resilience framework summarises a set of ideas and practices that promote resilience in young people.
Matthew explains: “The experience has allowed pupils to express themselves in different ways, helping to develop their social and emotional literacy and has given identified pupils the support they need to help them engage more with their learning. We were really pleased that New Pasture Lane Primary School has also joined the Nature Friendly Schools project. We enjoyed meeting with them to explore the opportunities our schools will be able to develop over the coming year, by sharing our experiences and through visits and events held at both schools. We also aim to broaden our reach through the local community which will be enhanced through the collaboration of our schools.”
Martin Coleman, assistant headteacher at New Pasture Lane Primary School added: “As Burlington Junior School has completed their Nature Friendly Schools year, we decided to visit to share their experiences and see what worked well and if there was anything that will help steer our school onto the right path during our first year. Initial discussions included developing the meadow areas, adding a new polytunnel and encouraging gardening to benefit all pupils, including those who need support to help them emotionally in school. We also talked about pupils from each school visiting to work on and learn from each other's areas and holding regular events together.”
The two schools are now looking at how they can pool together their knowledge and expertise to help support other schools undertake their own outdoor learning journey, helping to provide a legacy for Nature Friendly Schools within Bridlington and surrounding areas.