Thursday 22 February 2024
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Rushcliffe pupils reconnect with nature thanks to support from local business

A £3,000 donation from local business British Gypsum has helped Costock C of E Primary School in Nottinghamshire build a new outdoor learning area for pupils.

The school, which is just over two miles away from the manufacturer’s East Leake site, lacked a sufficient outdoor space to shelter pupils from both the rain and the hot sun.

Keen to create somewhere for children to learn, socialise, play, and reconnect with nature, the team at Costock C of E Primary School looked i? into building an outdoor classroom.

Costock School 2

After discovering the project would cost £10,000, the school’s parent-teacher association (PTA) embarked on a mission to raise the funds and get plans underway.

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Through hosting fun-filled events including a summer fair, a school movie night, raffles, and a series of discos for pupils, the PTA raised more than £2,200 to kickstart the project.

The school also received funding from local enterprises, as well as a donation of £2,000 from the East Midlands Airport Community Fund.

Costock School 6

A further £3,000 from British Gypsum meant the project could finally go ahead.

The new space acts as an extension of the traditional indoor classroom, allowing children to work outside in the fresh air and to view both learning and nature from a different perspective.

The outdoor classroom opened officially at the end of 2022, and teachers say it’s proving especially beneficial for art classes, eco-learning, and storytelling – promoting creativity, focus, and general well-being among pupils.

Christopher Gottwald, Chair of the PTA at Costock C of E Primary School, said: “The funding has allowed us to proceed with the outdoor classroom a lot earlier than we had expected. For such a small village school it is very difficult to raise the number of funds required for projects of this size.

“The feedback from the children has been extremely positive; they love the protection it has been providing in the rain, and as a quiet space for reading and contemplation during break times.”

The new classroom is available for the whole school to use and is already a popular spot for pupils of all ages. Since the project was completed, year 6 pupils have set up their own book club to support children in younger year groups with their reading.

Wayne Johnson, Production Manager at British Gypsum’s East Leake manufacturing plant, said: “It was great to attend the opening of the outdoor classroom and to see the children enjoying the new space. At British Gypsum, we’re proud to support projects like this and to see the long-term benefits of our donations to the local community.”

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