PHOTO GALLERY: Laundry room plan for back to nature Norfolk schoolchildren

In the modern world, many children are apparently protected from the great outdoors by paranoid parents and health and safety-conscious schools.

But at one school, the youngsters are so close to nature that their long-awaited new classroom block will include a laundry room.

The room - complete with washing machine and drying area - is needed at the 111-pupil Antingham and Southrepps Primary, near North Walsham.

The youngsters, aged between four and 11, regularly don special all-in-one suits to play, learn and experiment in the woodland opposite the school.

And when the extension is built, according to retiring headteacher Sue Day, they will need to deal with the muck and grime.

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She said: 'The children use the wood opposite to build fires and make shelters. They go out whatever the weather, and wear little suits to protect their clothes.

'We are going to have a washing machine and drying area and places to keep their wellies, so that we can keep the new block clean and clean their clothes.'

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The children are currently educated in a picturesque but cramped Victorian building, along with two run-down mobiles.

Mrs Day said: 'We are really pleased that we are getting the building because we've got two extremely old mobile classrooms that are falling apart and are damp and very unpleasant.

'Our school building is really beautiful, but in many ways it's not the best place for a 21st century education. By having two new classrooms we can merge two classrooms into one in the main block.

'At the moment the classrooms are tiny, and this will mean it will not feel so cramped.'

She added: 'The new classrooms will be for our younger children. Each classroom will have a big glass front and children will be able to go out from there to the outdoors really easily.

'We pride ourselves on a practical outdoor curriculum and it's really important that they can go outside. We think children don't always get enough chances to go outside.'

Work on the extension is expected to begin in May or June and be completed by the end of the year.

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