School’s vision to help more folk make the most of great outdoors

Published on: 28 Mar 2016

Forest Campus

BLACKHORSE Primary has launched an ambitious plan to create a £100 000 Forest Schools Campus on its old school field.
The great outdoors is a central part of the curriculum at the school, which was the first in South Gloucestershire  to earn the ‘Learning Outside the Classroom’ Quality Mark.
Children regularly use the school grounds and local area for learning and now hope to make more use of the field site on the opposite side of Blackhorse Lane.
Its dream is to create the campus  at the edge of the site so that the main field can still be used by sports teams.
Head teacher Simon Botten said:  “We believe that there is a wealth of learning to be done out in the real world and want to use our old school field, which is still owned by the school but seldom used due to the distance from the new site, to create an exciting space for children to learn about nature, science and eco-engineering.”
The plan includes  a full-sized eco-classroom/ log cabin/ field centre, complete with solar powered lights and a log burner for heat in the winter. This space would be used as an outdoor science lab, where children can do hands-on biology; a forest schools kitchen with a large outdoor barbecue and food preparation area to practise rustic cooking; and a workshop for woodland craft skills.
“We’re also planning a large fire pit and den building area, a newly planted orchard and compostable eco-toilets so that children don’t have to dash back to school to answer the call of nature!” Mr Botten added.
The project aims to bring together a number of schools and community groups in a joint funding bid for the site.
“We are very keen to see the site used as a resource for the whole community and would like to hear from community groups who feel that they would benefit from access to the Forest Schools Campus. We particularly feel that Brownie, Guide and Scout groups would benefit from the resources on offer, along with special needs and toddler groups. Currently the area is only in the design phase and we would welcome ideas and suggestions from community groups as to what should be included in the final design,” Mr Botten said.
Community groups who are interested in working with the school to develop the Forest Schools Campus should contact the school by emailing the school office

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