I was interested to read this week of a proposal to open Devon’s first ‘Nature School’ near Okehampton. The plans are for a combined nursery and primary school aimed at children aged 3 to 11 years on the ‘free school’ model.
The ‘Okehampton Nature School’ would be a mainstream school following the National Curriculum, but one which would put outdoor learning and the natural environment at the heart of a high quality education.
Ofsted have reported that learning outside the classroom contributes significantly to raising standards in schools, including improvements in pupils personal, social and emotional development.
The Devon Wildlife Trust is instrumental in instigating this exciting new venture, and is now talking to local people and schools in the Okehampton area to gauge support for their proposal. A public consultation event is planned in Okehampton for February 24th, and further information can be found at the following web site:
This new development was of particular interest to me, as next September my Grandson will start school for the first time. I have recently visited some local primary schools with my daughter in order to make an informed choice of his first school, and the decision we agreed upon was heavily swayed by one school’s high priority on ‘Forest School’ and a commitment to outdoor education.
I look forward to watching the Okehampton School move from plan to reality, and wish it every success.