Bosmere Junior School in Havant, graded a good school at their last Ofsted inspection in January 2018, has been listening to the views of their pupils when it comes to making learning fun.
Headteacher, Kathryn Robinson, explained, “We are always very keen to gather the views of the children when we are looking at planning for the future. Our School Council has a really active role in this process, putting forward the ideas of the pupils in their class at our regular meetings. We are lucky to have some fabulous school grounds here at Bosmere, but the children felt we needed to develop them further to make sure we could use them more for learning.”
So, an ‘Outdoor Learning Team’ was formed, led by teachers Lucy Barnard and Caroline Fisk, and the school set about investigating the possibilities. After visits to other schools and further consultation with the pupils, a plan emerged. They were also successful in gaining some additional funding for the project from County Councillors.
Phase one of the plan was completed in the Summer Term 2018. The school held a ‘Big Dig’ day, enlisting the help of governors, parents and the local community, including a team of workers from SSE who were keen to be involved in a community project. Bark chippings for the paths, along with tree stumps to create class seating in the copse area were kindly donated by Mike Reed Tree Surgeons. A fantastic meadow area was created in one corner of the field which, once it has been fully developed, will provide a wonderful learning resource for studying different wildlife and habitats. It will also be a great space for children to explore at break times.
Also part of phase one was the creation of a ‘Relax and Read’ area in the playground. English Manager, Nicola White, explained, “We wanted to create an inviting space in which children could simply get lost in a book, away from the hustle and bustle of the playground. The brightly coloured benches and tables, along with outdoor bean bags and cushions in the nicer weather, help to promote reading as a fun pastime.”
Headteacher, Kathryn Robinson added, “We are very proud of our attainment in reading at Bosmere, being above both the national average and the average for Hampshire.” The school also dedicated the ‘Fabulous Chair’ in this area to a teaching assistant, Sue Fellah, who had sadly passed away earlier in the year.
Phase two of the development was completed this week, with the creation of an amazing living willow dome at the end of the field. This will provide an additional outdoor classroom space, as well as producing the school’s own supply of willow which can be used for art projects! Elaine and Ganesh from Creative Willow worked with the Year three children over the course of two days to create the hazel frame for the dome and plant the living willow. They also had a wonderful time experimenting with making sculptures from the willow.
“We are very proud of what we have achieved so far,” commented the Headteacher. “We are looking forward to watching how things grow and to having some fun in our new environments!”