Children, parents and teachers celebrate official opening of new multisensory outdoor area at Forest Academy, Brandon

Forest Academy, Brandon, celebrated the official opening of their multisensory outdoor learning area

Forest Academy, Brandon, celebrated the official opening of their multisensory outdoor learning area. Picture: Claire Edmeades - Credit: Archant

Children, parents and teachers from Forest Academy, Brandon, celebrated the official opening of its multisensory outdoor area which will enable pupils to explore, play and learn.

Forest Academy, Brandon, celebrated the official opening of their multisensory outdoor learning area

Forest Academy, Brandon, celebrated the official opening of their multisensory outdoor learning area. Picture: Claire Edmeades - Credit: Archant

The new learning area will give children the opportunity to have lessons outside and offers new areas to play at break time.

The school was successful in its bid for an £8,000 grant from Tesco's Bags of Help scheme.

A further £4,000 was donated to the school after they impressed the supermarket with their ideas and the school itself put £4,000 towards the area.

April Grimes, who is co-headteacher at the school, said: 'The play times have been so much happier. It is nice to see the children play.

Forest Academy, Brandon, celebrated the official opening of their multisensory outdoor learning area

Forest Academy, Brandon, celebrated the official opening of their multisensory outdoor learning area. Pictured left to right: Lorna Rourke, joint headteacher of the school; Liz Cooke, Lark Valley Willow; Chloe Robison-Smith, Groundwork, and April Grimes, joint headteacher. Picture: Claire Edmeades - Credit: Archant


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'We are trying to get the children to have a more outside experience.'

The outdoor space has an allotment and flower beds. It is designed to be sensory, with smelling pots and flowers, a water play area, sensory boards and objects for children to identify, and mirrored features.

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There are areas for the children to climb and sit and games tables.

Some of the money was also used to help clear-up and maintain the school's woodland area and environmental garden.

Forest Academy, Brandon, celebrated the official opening of their multisensory outdoor learning area

Forest Academy, Brandon, celebrated the official opening of their multisensory outdoor learning area. A time capsule was buried to celebrate the new school building which will be handed over to the school at the end of July. Picture: Claire Edmeades - Credit: Archant

Mrs Grimes said the garden is 'better than we imagined'.

'I didn't want it to be just a pretty garden,' she said. 'I wanted the children to be able to get involved and play with things. The children love it. It is a great learning area.'

The school's caretaker Billy Gorman has been praised for his work in helping to build and put items together and for the extra hours he put in.

Lianne Spooner, Tesco Brandon's community champion, said: 'It is absolutely fantastic. It has made such a difference.'

A new building is currently in its last stages before completion and it is set to be handed over to the school at the end of this month.

It will contain four classrooms, two of which will house year two, and two which will be used for other learning activities.

To celebrate the new building, a time capsule was buried which contained a number of toys, including a fidget spinner and Pokémon cards.

Copies of SAT papers and letters translated from the eight different languages which are spoken by pupils who attend the school, were also included.

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