Forest School vandalised for third time since September
PUBLISHED: 09:35 29 April 2019 | UPDATED: 10:16 29 April 2019
A teacher has spoken of her heartbreak after a special forest school area was broken into for the third time in seven months.
The outdoor learning space was built at Swaffham Infant and Nursery School last September.
And the school has been running weekly sessions, enabling all pupils to connect with nature in the forest area.
But the White Cross Road school was twice targeted by vandals over the Easter holidays.
On the second occasion, which was discovered when pupils returned to school on April 23, they found that the swing had been ripped down and broken, the wooden see-saw was split in half, and the willow tunnel and willow dome was pulled up in places.
In addition, the forest boundary fence was forced in three places, a bird table was smashed to pieces, a compost bin was overturned and cider cans were left over the floor.
It has left Cara Butters, a higher level teaching assistant and forest school leader at the school, close to tears.
She said: “I was absolutely devastated to find the forest school area had suffered yet another mindless attack. This time it was the worst.
“It is so heartbreaking as we have worked so hard to make this area a rich learning environment for children.
“It took us more than two days to clear the mess and destruction.”
On the first occasion the school was targeted by vandals, items were damaged and stolen.
And then, between the close of school on Friday, April 5, and Saturday, April 13, a tree was forced down and chairs were smashed on the play-bus on the field.
She added: “These forest school sessions are invaluable to the children whose self-esteem and confidence is increasing. Children have been able to experience the seasons, learn about flora and fauna, construct dens, climb trees, problem-solve, use real tools, light fires and build.”
A Norfolk police spokesman said: “We received reports on April 23 of criminal damage at the school. We are investigating.”
Anyone with information should call Norfolk police on 101, quoting reference number 36/26987/19, or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.