Radio Bath News Three

More outdoor learning for school children is being trialled in Bath

Avon Wildlife Trust and Bathscape have teamed up to provide nature-based resources to schools

By Alastair Salmon

Bathscape and Avon Wildlife Trust are working with schools in Bath and the wider Avon area to get more outdoor learning into the curriculum. The project aims to get children out and about in local green spaces in an achievable manner for teachers.

Access to green spaces is a genuine concern in the UK – 10 million people live in areas with limited green spaces, and children in deprived areas have 9 times less access than those in wealthier areas. This applies even to cities such as Bath, where much of the green space is private and locked off.

Avon Wildlife Trust’s Learning Manager, Lucy Hellier, explained the need for this project:

“There is a real need for more children to spend more time in nature, and school is an amazing way of doing that. For many children, their school might be the only place they can learn about nature without getting on a bus or car or without their parents worrying about safety. Some school grounds have incredible biodiversity. So children have a great opportunity to learn about butterflies and bees and trees and just explore and get all the health and well-being benefits of being outside.”

There is additional effort to improve school grounds to make them spaces where nature can thrive while children play and learn.

The groups have worked with Roundhill Primary School and St. Michael’s Junior School in the wider Bath area to trial lesson plans. These plans include ‘packs’ that focus on different topics and activities that teachers can lead outside. The packs offer various learning for children, from monitoring and caring for trees to exploring their emotions outdoors.

“Maybe my favourite bit we did – we’ve made these guides to help teachers who want to go outside to the local green spaces around Twerton. The idea is it’s a one-stop-shop for teachers who want to plan and organise a school trip but might be a bit worried or intimidated by how long it’s going to take and the paperwork. Any teachers will be pleased to know we’ve already written a risk assessment for them.”

The project had to be put on hold during the pandemic as schools did not allow external groups inside the grounds and then faced staffing troubles once things opened up again. Lucy says now they have started the trial run of these resources, the children have responded positively and made all the hard work worth it.

If you would like to learn more about the work Avon Wildlife Trust and Bathscape are doing in schools, you can read more here.