History of L.O.t.C
Sherbrook Primary School has been developing its provision for Learning Outside the Classroom over a number of years. Teachers have always been encouraged to take their learning outside wherever possible. Before September 2016 our outside space was quite limited with just tarmac playgrounds and small sensory garden.
When the school was extended two years ago we were fortunate to acquire a large plot of land. This land originally had a large building on it so a lot of work was needed to get it ready for the school to use.
Following the acquisition of the area of land the school council was asked what they would like the area to look like. The children decided they would like a trim trail, cycle/running track, a football field and an outdoor classroom. They also wanted a swimming pool, Jacuzzi and an ice skating rink – maybe next time!!
Staff met with the designers and the proposals were put to them and we are pleased to say that most of their requests were able to be included. Following many months of hard work we now have a lovely, usable space for our staff and children to enjoy.
Now children can enjoy their extended outside space to enhance their learning and to develop an appreciation of the natural world.
Over the following years more of our outside spaces have been developed further. We now have several outside areas that classes can use for their learning. We have raised beds for growing flowers, herbs and vegetables. We have a sensory area containing herbs and grasses for the children to experience all securely fenced off. We have an outdoor story hut and our EYFS children have an outdoor area specifically designed for their needs. We have recently (2022) added an outdoor area for our complex needs children.
Case study from SchoolTravelOrganiser.com
Sherbrook Primary School is an inclusive special school for 130 pupils aged two to 11 who live in Cannock and the surrounding areas. As an LOTC Gold holder, the school is part of LOTC’s development group, the first hub school to be part of the mentoring programme. Sue Dutton, forest schools teacher, explains why they chose to take part in the mentoring hub and how the school has benefited from being part of LOTC over the years.
“We have been involved with LOTC for around ten years and feel we have a lot of experience to share with others. We already do a lot of mentoring with other schools. I absolutely love what I do and I have lots of enthusiasm to share with others. We all learn from each other and the children gain so much from it.
“When we first started working with LOTC, we had a concrete playground – that was it, it was our only outdoor learning area. Over the years we acquired some land next to the school, which gave us a nice-sized field and some trees. Our head teacher allocated a lot of money to improving school grounds and we have installed gym equipment on the field and created sensory gardens. In addition to this, we now also have our own outdoor classroom and learning area which is separate to the school field which includes huts and shelters that we can use all year round.
“I only teach outdoor learning now - I always have three coats hanging up behind the door - and it’s all part of the development for the rest of the 12 teachers and over 40 support staff.
“Before the pandemic, we used to go off site all the time. As we are a SEN school, we need a lot of adult support to take the children out on trips. We have three mini-buses and an excellent group of parents who would meet us when we arrived at the other end.”
LOTC - Activities