St Thomas CE (VC) Primary School
Sherwood Avenue




01484 226557


Office hours:

8.30am - 4.30pm

You can also use our contact form.

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Our school works closely with the other schools around us to provide additional opportunities for our children. To find out about who we work with, and what we do click here...

Outdoor Learning Area

Children today spend less than half the time playing outdoors that their parents did and are less likely to spend time outdoors at school. They are growing up in an increasingly indoor, sedentary and virtual world, ever more divorced from the real world around them. This has a significant impact on their physical health, emotional wellbeing, social competence and their connection with the natural world and their local communities.

The best place for children to enjoy the outdoors, learn about the natural world and take vigorous exercise on a regular basis is in the school grounds. School grounds are safe and accessible, you need no additional staff, no consent forms, no transport, and there is no additional cost.


The Benefits of School Grounds


Physical Health

Playing and learning outdoors can improve muscular strength, co-ordination, balance, dexterity and aerobic fitness. Children can burn as many calories in an active outdoor play session as in a PE lesson. Enjoying the outdoors in childhood leads to a greater use of the outdoors for active recreation in childhood and later life.



“When planned and implemented well, learning outside the classroom contributed significantly to raising standards and improving pupils’ personal, social and emotional development.”

(Ofsted, 2008)

When they took part in outdoor learning children:

  • “Performed significantly better on achievement tests”
  • And pupils “expressed high interest and well-being and low anger, anxiety, and boredom”

(Maller C in Dillon, 2010)

The draft revised primary science curriculum includes a requirement that elements of the curriculum should be delivered in the natural environment – where better than the school grounds?


Emotional health

There is a wide body of research demonstrating the positive impact of nature on emotional wellbeing.

“In outdoor learning, pupils develop more positive relationships with each other, with their teachers and with the wider community. It can develop community pride and a greater sense of place, belonging and community.”

(Taking Learning Outdoors. Learning Teaching Scotland, 2007)


Nature deficit

Outdoor learning connects children and young people with the natural world. Positive experiences of nature in childhood have a significant impact on environmental attitudes and behaviours in adulthood. This is essential if we are to ask people to change their lifestyles and be more environmentally aware.


Our school works with an organisation called GROW to add further expertise to our day. This  team support our year 3 children, who spend a day learning outside each week. The GROW team plan with us and link our indoor curriculum to the outdoor curriculum, which helps to add meaning to what the children learn. The team also help our children to plant in our gardens, making sure that the flower beds and the community garden have fresh flowers, strawberries and plants.

If you'd like to know more about the GROW team, click here.

We now have a sensory area where we have planted seeds that will grow into flowers that you can smell.  It is in the corner near the gate.


Let me know when the first flower appears and what it smells like.


We have also re-seeded the rockery area so keep an eye out for all different colours.


The pond area is very exciting at them moment but take great care - think safe-use the 'safety position' (on one knee).

Look out for the fish, tadpoles and beautiful dragonflies.  Please remember this is their home-do not take them from their home.


Forest School have created a 'Fire Area' where we are now cooking outdoors.  Please keep away from this area particularly on Fridays.


Look for the artefacts in the archaeolgical dig.   Sit on the bales and sing songs or tell a story.  Have fun!  It's a great place to learn and enjoy the outdoors.

Our Pond
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