Students from Bishop Ian Ramsey C of E School with Cllr Stelling and headteacher, David Mordue.
Matthew Neville

County Durham primary school branches out with outdoor learning project

A County Durham primary school is branching even further into outdoor learning with a new addition to its woodland.

Bishop Ian Ramsey Church of England School, in Medomsley, has planted a range of trees in a bid to develop its Forest School. As part of its Forest School status, children are encouraged to discover, explore, observe and question what they find in the woods, with sessions taking place each week.

Pupils are taught practical skills such as knot tying and building shelters, and are able to develop a respect for the outdoors as well as learning about the importance of the environment and sustainability.

David Mordue, the school’s headteacher, said: “Our woodland offers a calming environment for our pupils and we are delighted to be able to extend it further. Having also suffered some quite extensive tree damage during the storms earlier in the year, it is great for us to be able to plant some new trees after applying through The Tree Council.

“We have already noticed many benefits of outdoor learning, particularly after the pandemic. The Forest School element of our curriculum helps children to develop a range of skills but it also helps to promote positive health and wellbeing.”

Students and teachers were joined by Durham County Council’s Chairman, Cllr Watts Stelling, for the tree planting.

Cllr Stelling said: “It is fantastic to see the pupils here responding so well to the outdoors and having such a fun time learning. As well as supporting children’s education and wellbeing, the woodland is helping to inspire a love of nature and the environment.

“It is so important that we nurture this within the younger generation to encourage our young people to do more to help protect the planet. It also promotes positive attitudes towards mental and physical health, which is crucial for a long and healthy life.”

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