Health and wellbeing

Funding level: £5,001 to £10,000

Submitted by: DeVere Mortgages

Description

Our aim is to build a timber outdoor classroom and sensory garden, including an ecosystem, planters and artificial grass in an unused corner of the playground which currently has rotten, unsafe decking. We believe that this will enable outdoor learning, which is proven to increase pupils’ motivation and help their wellbeing. We want all George Spicer children to experience how much fun their natural environment can be and learn in the process. The project is costed at just below £10,000 and can be completed in 2018.

George Spicer Primary School will soon be the largest split site primary school in Enfield, with 840 children by 2020. It has recently transitioned from a 2 to a 4-form entry school to ensure the Enfield children have a place in a local school. Built in 1912, and sited on a main road, the original school site has playgrounds for use by 480 children but no green space. The school community has made a good start in fundraising to purchase play equipment, but there is much more we want to do.

By 2020, the all indoor classrooms will be full and the playground will be very busy during breaks. An outdoor classroom will provide an additional learning space for all our children. Situated in a quieter part of the playground it will also provide a quiet zone for our 90 children with SEMH (Social, Emotional & Mental Health) needs.

In one of the 10 fastest growing London boroughs in 2016, we regularly have children joining us that are new to the area and often from challenged social backgrounds. We will install buddy benches in our sensory garden to ensure these children have a positive place to sit with a new friend. An attractive area that engages all the children is needed to address increasingly poor social and communication skills which are known to be a barrier to learning.

At George Spicer we focus on teaching children about our natural environment and for the last 2 years we have been awarded Gold in the Enfield in Bloom competition for ‘The Best School Grounds with Environmental and Educational Aspect’ category. The school grounds were filled with flowers planted in old wellington boots, tyres & school trousers tied at the bottom! We want to develop this further by involving the children in planting different foliage with the purpose of stimulating and engaging the senses. Our aim is for the sensory garden to be therapeutic for our children with autism and other sensory processing disorders, helping them to feel safe and comfortable in exploring their senses without feeling overwhelmed.

George Spicer has an Eco Council, with pupils elected by classmates based on their eco ideas. The Council promote sustainability, recycling and saving energy and will be key in ensuring our sensory garden is eco-friendly. A water butt will collect rain to water our garden. A bird box & bug hotel will provide homes for wildlife. Colourful fencing and a sound wall made from recycled household objects are also part of our plans.

In 2016 the Natural Connections Demonstration project published new evidence on the benefits of outdoor learning to pupils, teachers & schools.
• 95% of children said outdoor learning makes lessons more enjoyable
• 90% said they felt happier and healthier
• 93% of schools said outdoor learning improves pupils’ social skills
• 92% said it improves pupils’ health and wellbeing and engages them with learning
• 85% saw a positive impact on behaviour
• 90% of staff surveyed found outdoor learning to be useful for curriculum delivery

The evidence is clear; getting all children outdoors is fantastic for their health, wellbeing & learning and can set them on a pathway to happy, healthy, environmentally sustainable lifestyle.

Friends of George Spicer School

Location: Southbury Road, Enfield EN1 1YF, United Kingdom

We’re proud to be creating a green eco haven, radically improving an uninspiring space. We’re helping all our children who come from diverse backgrounds & cultures. We’re especially proud to provide our new & SEMH needs children & those from socially challenged backgrounds a special positive place.