Who we are…
Allendale Primary School is a rural school in the hills of the North Pennines. We strive to ensure that our children receive a rich, inspiring, dynamic and engaging curriculum within a happy and nurturing environment. Learning outside the classroom is highly valued at our school and we have a fantastic outdoor space which we have started to develop with help from the community. This is used by all of the pupils at the school, as well as the wider community, including the Allen Valley Scouts, Cubs and Wildlife Group.
Why do we need your help?
We love to use our outdoor space to explore, discover, create and learn in the natural environment, however, it is very exposed to the elements. This can make learning outside very challenging and limit the type of activities that young people can take part in especially in the extreme weather conditions that we experience in the North Pennines. Building an outdoor classroom would allow the pupils and community groups to be outside in all weather conditions and participate in a wider range of activities.
The limited tools and equipment we currently use are in poor condition. Apart from a few poor quality, broken nets, we do not have suitable equipment to properly explore the wonderful creatures in our pond habitat and our tarps for shelter building have succumbed to the wind. Replacing these and purchasing new tools, would allow the young people in our community to develop new skills in bush craft and conservation techniques as well as develop their confidence, cooperation, strength and motor skills.
The cubs and Scouts groups do not have their own outdoor space and this project will be instrumental in these groups reaching their organisation's aims.
Why do we want to learn outside?
Learning outside has been shown to improve children’s personal and social development as well as emotional well being which is so important at the moment due to the current pandemic. The skills, resilience and confidence that the children and young people will develop through this project will be invaluable!
Our Journey so far…
We have already started to develop the outdoor space. We recently secured funding from Newcastle University to build a fire pit and pond. The children have planted a woodland using trees donated by the woodland trust. During a Family Fun Day members of the community helped to plant willow and with the help of volunteers we planted local wild flowers donated by the local charity Higher Ground. The children and cubs have also used recycled materials to create hedgehog homes, bird boxes and a bug hotel.
With your help and support we will…
- Build an outdoor classroom to allow pupils and community groups to participate in a wider range of activities outdoors, in any weather!
- Purchase pond dipping equipment so children and young people can record and monitor the wildlife in our pond and learn new practical skills in nature conservation.
- Purchase shelter building equipment and bush craft tools to enable young people to learn new practical skills, develop their motor skills and participate in team building activities.
- Run CPD and training events led by the school’s Forest School Level 3 practitioner utilising the tools, equipment and outdoor classroom.
- Run nature themed workshops led by the Allen Valley Wildlife Group which will teach young people about local wildlife and the importance of nature conservation.
- Hold family and community days using the new equipment and outdoor classroom encouraging the wider community to foster a lifelong love of the outdoors and the nature within it.
"The project will support our cubs when we use the nature garden. A permanent shelter would be amazing for us so that we can continue with our outdoor plans whatever the weather. There is nowhere else locally where we can explore the habitat of a pond and we'd love to have that opportunity to explore the inhabitants. The nature garden is a brilliant resource to have available for our sessions, and this development would allow us to get outdoors even more!" Melanie Hewitt, Allen Valley Cubs Leader.
"The Allen Valleys Scout Group makes use of the nature garden at Allendale Primary School for our sessions and it is a very useful resource to have in the village. I know that any funding or donations that could be raised to further the area and it's resources would be very much welcomed and used to the great benefit of the community within the Allen Valleys and particularly the young people. the group comprises of approx 50 young people and we are always looking for innovative ways to teach them outdoor skills, which the Nature Garden spaces allows us to do". Bruce Lenton, Scout Leader.
"I would like to pledge support for Allendale Primary School's Calor Rural Community Fund application on behalf of Allen Valleys Wildlife Group. We have enjoyed being able to support the learning of the natural world to the children of Allendale Primary School through activities such as nest box monitoring and pond dipping. We look forward to continuing our community conversation efforts together". Charlotte Reid, Allen Valleys Wildlife Group.
"This is a wonderful project which I feel really proud to support. It's absolutely fantastic how many people in the locality will benefit from the facilities and equipment - not just the children of Allendale Primary. There is a real enthusiasm in Allendale for environmental awareness, and being able to offer even more educational experiences all year round to the children and young people of our community is vital. This will support not only the mental wellbeing of those involved, but also help us to raise important environmental issues and build towards a more sustainable future for our village and the world around us." Mr Vincent, Deputy Headteacher, Allendale Primary.
"The resources gained from the project will be so valuable to all the children at the school and others who will get to use them. My children love to learn outside and learning outside is fantastic for their mental health as well as their physical health. As a parent I feel so lucky that my child attends a school that values outdoor learning so highly and I am so excited for my children to be able to use the fantastic equipment that the community will gain though this project". Parent, Allendale Primary.