Sunderland school hailed by wildlife trust for pupils' conservation work

A Sunderland school has been hailed by a wildlife organisation for its conservation work.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 18 July, 2018, 10:04
Barbara Priestman School and Technology College, in Sunderland.

Durham Wildlife Trust (DWT) has named Barbara Priestman Academy as its School Of The Year for its conservation work.

DWT experts work with a number of North East schools on educational projects and have helped staff and pupils at the school to develop ideas.

Barbara Priestman educates children with autism and learning difficulties and DWT has helped them to develop an outdoor space as part of the school’s Forest School initiative, as well as helping them stage their recent Forest Fest celebration event in their garden.

It is the fourth year the Trust has awarded the School Of The Year trophy.

Kirsty Pollard, Trust Education & Engagement Officer, said: “The School Of The Year Award is an opportunity for us to reflect upon the schools we have engaged with across the year and select one that stands out for their commitment, not only to protecting wildlife, but engaging students of all ages in the outdoor environment.

“The Trust first worked with Barbara Priestman Academy eight years ago to create a pond in their grounds and I was delighted to have the opportunity to visit the site last year and see how well the pond is doing.

"The school have clearly nurtured this habitat and value it as a learning resource.

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“It is obvious from setting foot in the school that staff and students have invested a lot of energy, enthusiasm and creativity in developing their outdoor environment and the result is a wonderfully rich and engaging space where wildlife and people can thrive and grow together.”

David Atkinson, the Physical Education teacher who runs the school’s Duke of Edinburgh/Forest School award of which the work forms part, said: “We have had another brilliant year learning outside of the classroom.

“We are continually developing our Forest School with new projects and learning opportunities for our students.

"Recent developments have been a dam in a stream, a storage hut for equipment, a sensory garden, new nature trails and new hibernaculums.”

The school also encourages pupils to take part in the John Muir Award, a national educational award from the John Muir Trust.

The award is for people of all ages and abilities and is about getting out into the great outdoors, exploring, discovering, conserving wildlife and sharing experiences.