Thousands of children will have increased access to nature at school, thanks to an exciting new project!

The Wildlife Trusts is leading on the four-year Nature Friendly Schools programme which is funded by the Department for Education and supported by Defra and Natural England.

Nature Friendly Schools

Lyndsey Young

The Wildlife Trusts is leading on the four-year Nature Friendly Schools programme which is funded by the Department for Education and supported by Defra and Natural England.

It aims to create new nature areas in school grounds, provide opportunities for pupils to visit local nature reserves or parks, and give teachers support and training to increase their confidence and ability to deliver outdoor learning linked to the National Curriculum.

During the first year of the programme, Nature Friendly Schools will be working with some of the schools across the UK with the highest pupil premium, allowing children to experience the joy that nature can bring in a way they may never have been able to before.

Stephanie Hilborne, Chief Executive of The Wildlife Trusts, says: “Our children deserve better than to be cooped up all day. We know that contact with nature lowers anxiety and is good for learning and social skills, so it’s really exciting to be working closely with schools to build teachers’ confidence in getting their pupils outdoors.”

Nature Friendly Schools will be working in partnership with YoungMinds which leads the fight for children and young people’s mental health; Groundwork which transforms young people’s lives in the most disadvantaged communities; the Sensory Trust which helps to ensure children with special needs enjoy access to nature; and the Field Studies Council which inspires environmental education through first-hand experiences on residential courses and with Wildlife Trusts.

Beverley Gormley, Nature Friendly Schools Project Manager, explains: “Research shows that being outdoors and experiencing nature, even for small periods of time, improves happiness, concentration and both physical and mental health. This is why it is so important that we can help to provide teachers with the expertise, training and resources needed to incorporate outdoor learning into their schools and benefit pupils.”

Nature Friendly Schools