Health and wellbeing

Funding level: £1,001 to £5,000


Help us give our school an outdoor classroom to become a proper Forest School. Kettlewell Primary School is lucky enough to have our own enclosed woodland area, and a teacher trained in Forest School leadership, so with the money from the Aviva Community Fund, we will install a timber outdoor classroom for children to conduct their studies of the natural world with some shelter from the Yorkshire weather!

Kettlewell Primary School is a wonderful village school and has been absolutely vital to the local community for generations, but with just 30 pupils currently on the roll, funding is incredibly tight, with not a penny to spare. To make the school more sustainable, we became the first Federation of four rural primary schools in Yorkshire, in February 2017, sharing a head teacher and coming together for various educational and extra-curricular activities. As such our Forest School would not only be of immediate benefit to Kettlewell School but also more than 200 pupils across our Federation and, potentially, to many other schools across North Yorkshire.

We would also extend the facility for use of other groups in the community such as Beavers, Cubs and Brownies. Furthermore, we already have regular visits to Kettlewell and the Yorkshire Dales from schools in nearby towns and cities such as Keighley, Bradford and Leeds so our Forest Classroom at Kettlewell would provide an ideal location for them to have a hands-on experience of the natural world.

To make the most of the woodland area within our school grounds, the National Trust helped us create a rudimentary outdoor learning ‘glade’, with carved wooden benches, back in 2000. However, being over 15 years old, rather damp and gnarly, with no shelter from the elements, the area is not suitable for many of the studies our Forest School leader would like to implement and our outdoor classroom would mean we could do so much more, whatever the weather. There will also be opportunities for parents to become involved and we envisage after school and holiday clubs to enhance our children’s learning from building bug boxes and shelters to storytelling around a camp fire. For the sustainability of our community, it is also vital that rural skills and knowledge are passed on to future generations and we are already working with experts in the likes of moorland and forest management, to assist with our Forest School.

Being located at the heart of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, our pupils are immersed in incredible countryside and wildlife every day, from the changing of the seasons to the nesting swallows in our porch and the hedgehogs, rabbits and foxes who call our school grounds home. We have already achieved our Bronze Award as a Woodland Trust Eco School and are working towards Silver which we would almost certainly achieve with our new outdoor classroom.

Besides getting children away from their screens, out in the fresh air and more active, learning outdoors encourages children to grow in confidence, working independently or as part of a study group. The outdoors also ignites a whole new world of imagination which readily transfers into the classroom. With our new outdoor classroom we will certainly have a Forest School to be proud of and be able to inspire a life-long appreciation of the great outdoors for children locally and further afield.

Project Video

The Friends of Kettlewell School

Moment of Pride

We are proud of our Forest School because it is a unique asset to help pupils understand, and make the most of Kettlewell’s inspiring natural environment and enhance their educational experience. It also benefits all four schools in our federation, community groups and urban schools further afield.

Location: Kettlewell