Eco-Classroom for SEN at Heart of the Forest School
1.Why did you want to develop an outdoor learning space?
At Heart of the Forest Community Special School we place a very high value on physical recreation and activity. We are an all age special school catering for students aged 3-19 with profound and complex learning needs. As part of our accessibility plans we had been looking at ways to make our sports field accessible to all our students so that the outdoor learning environment was fully inclusive. The difficulties our students have to live with day to day coupled with the lack of facilities available meant that many were unable to access this facility because their health & safety and wellbeing could not be guaranteed.
The field was underused because there was no suitable space to cater for individual personal care needs and we could not ensure students’ safety in this area of the school. What we wanted was to provide an inclusive sports facility situated at the side of our field to enable all students at Heart of the Forest School to fully access all aspects of the outdoor education curriculum. We felt that a Learning Escape facility would provide shelter and a purpose built place to cater for everybody’s needs, allowing all our students to participate in outdoor activities.
2.What made The Learning Escape stand out from other providers?
The Learning Escape was chosen by the project manager as someone who could provide all the facilities we needed.
3.What are the biggest benefits you’ve noticed for the pupils and your school?
We now have a wonderful building on the school field which will allow each and every one of our students to fully participate in the outdoor curriculum.
4.How did you find working with The Learning Escape overall?
They were very amenable – even when we kept changing our mind!!