Outdoor Classroom at Spinnens Acre Community School

Chris Packham opens eco outdoor classroom by The Learning Escape

On 20th July, television presenter and famous conservationist, Chris Packham proudly opened Spinnens Acre Community Junior School’s new mobile classroom facility, the Woodland Cabin. 

After three years of dedicated and tireless fundraising, Spinnens Junior School were finally able to see a part of their old school grounds be transformed into a state of the art, eco friendly cabin, situated right at the foot of their local woods.

Set in the picturesque village of Lords Wood in Chatham, Kent, Spinnens Acre Junior School desperately wanted to maximise the full potential of their rural location for their pupils. The beautiful woodland surroundings provide not only an inspirational learning environment, but also a practical basis for science lessons as well as the ability teaching them a keen appreciation and understanding of the wildlife that can thrive in Britain’s countryside.

The children are now able to enjoy the nature of the woodlands they’ve always had sat on their doorstep.

The safety of the pupils has always being the top priority of the teachers and staff at this junior school, letting them simply run through the woods wasn’t safe, now they are able to enjoy the nature of the woods from either the comfort of their new cabin, or use it as a safe base for the children to gather for classes or to bring back specimens they find in the woods. With the addition of cameras linked directly to the woods and nesting boxes, the children now have the opportunity to experience the wildlife up close and in detail.

Head teacher, Gwen Thomas was able to point out another advantage of their new addition:

“It also means they’re not trailing mud back into the classroom, the children are able to make a mess out here and really enjoy themselves, because we can clear it up really easily."

The building itself is designed to be as practical and efficient as possible. As well as the actual cabin, Spinnens Junior School were also able to add an outdoor seating and picnic area, a bike shed and an activity play area. This woodland cabin includes a kitchen toilets for the disabled, an audio visual facility as well a window with security features to create a safe working environment both for the children and for the staff outside the woodland cabin.

Spinnens Acre has now merged with Swingate Primary School.

"From a teachers perspective, I love this cabin."

5 Gwen Thomas, Headteacher (School building customer)