A nature-loving north Norfolk school has been rewarded for its work to teach pupils about wildlife and the great outdoors.

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Erpingham Primary School was handed a cheque for £100 today after being named the winners of the Aylsham and District Wildlife Society’s first ever gold award, for its pioneering work with the forest schools scheme.

The project aims to give youngsters hands on learning experiences in a woodland environment and is so well established at Erpingham that children and staff are now extending their scheme.

Neighbouring pupils are invited to use their outdoor area, staff have helped other schools develop forest programmes and a Forest Friends group for pre-school children is also run during the week.

Tony Escritt, from the society, said members had been impressed by Erpingham’s “ethos”.

He added: “They get the children outside and enable them to make decisions themselves about what is safe and what isn’t and how they should conduct themselves.

“And we particularly liked their sharing with other schools and the way they help them to become forest schools.”

The £100 prize money will be used to install a webcam in the school’s kestrel nesting box, which has been difficult to observe.

Pictures from the camera will now allow children, parents and visitors to see what is happening within the box, which was presented to Erpingham students by the Hawk and Owl Trust.

The wildlife society also presented silver prizes of £50 each to Buxton Primary School and Worstead Primary School for their work with the forest schools scheme.

Corpusty, Hevingham and Swanton Abbott primary schools came highly commended.

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