Outside Learning in any Weather! Local Businesses’ Charitable Contribution to Rose Hill School

The coming together of the Oxfordshire construction community has meant a much needed charitable contribution to the existing forest school area at Rose Hill School, Oxford.

One year after Rose Hill School officially opened their new forest school area in January 2016, local company Greenford Ltd have coordinated a small group of Oxfordshire businesses to supply and build free of charge an outdoor learning structure to complete this innovative educational space. Greenford, an independent civil engineering firm, designed and then built the donated outdoor learning shelter during the Easter holiday to ensure it was ready for use as soon as the summer term started with no disruption to classes.

Rose Hill School outdoor learning

The completed structure in the forest school area

Emma Hood, Rose Hill School’s Outdoor Learning Coordinator this past year said “The outside learning space created by the forest school area has already been a runaway success with our children. It has fulfilled all our hopes with regards to providing a hands-on alternative learning environment and maximising student engagement. The only issue has been the inability to use the space in inclement weather, a problem which Greenford and their generous suppliers have now solved.”

Assisting the local school and involving other businesses from the community was an idea that very much appealed to Greenford Ltd. Director Simon Rogers was in charge of the charitable scheme and immediately saw the potential to involve other local businesses to really get the most out of the project. Mr Rogers said “We were very impressed with what Rose Hill School are doing for their students through their forest school area and we were thrilled to be able to contribute to this innovative scheme. Greenford were on board from day one, and once we found a gap in our schedule we set about seeing if we could get our regular trusted suppliers involved too. To have them contribute to this scheme was the best outcome for us and for the children that get to enjoy this safe and quality built structure. We are very grateful to these generous businesses that donated time and materials towards the works.” Along with Greenford Ltd, supplies and materials were donated to the project by Greenplant, Jewson, College Scaffolding and Ian Rycroft Photography who supplied a time-lapse camera to record the entire build.

Rose Hill School

A Year 5 class utilising the new structure at Rose Hill School

The initial creation of this learning space in early 2016 was made possible through a grant from Nicholson’s Nurseries and The Berkeley Reafforestation Trust, a UK based charity which works to promote tree and environmental education around the world. The idea behind forest school area initiatives at places like Rose Hill School is to create alternative learning spaces wherever possible to promote maximum and diverse engagement of every student. Children can track wildlife, nurture and grow plants and trees, be responsible for the upkeep of the space, learn independence, resilience, team work, initiative, responsibility, how to calculate risk, assess safety and build confidence.

To read more about similar schemes implemented by the Berkeley Reafforestation Trust visit their website – www.brt.org