Ben Rhydding Primary School and The Woodlands Trust – 26th/ 27th March 2019

Mrs Cumberland will never blow her own trumpet about working tirelessly to improve our school ground.  Last year you will remember that she applied and won a grant with Tesco Bags of Help and ‘Local Schools Nature Grant’ and as a result we have our wonderful sensory garden.

This year she has been working with The Woodlands Trust and we are now in the process of receiving 420 trees to plant on our school field that will provide us with year round beauty.  Mrs Cumberland wrote to the Woodlands Trust and this is what she had to say:

RE: Trees for Ben Rhydding Primary School Field (Grid Ref: SE129476)

To whom it may concern,

I am writing to seek Bradford City council’s permission for Ben Rhydding Primary School to apply for and plant packs of trees supplied by the Woodland Trust. The trees will be supplied as a part of the Woodland Trust’s Trees for Schools program, funded by The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

This year at Ben Rhydding School, we have completely redeveloped our outside learning area: we won grants from Tesco’s ‘Bags Of Help’ appeal and ‘Local Schools Nature Grant’ and have put £4000 into creating a new ‘Wildlife Garden’. All staff have had training on ‘Outdoor Learning’, we have been outside the classroom much more and even ran a whole school ‘Outdoor Learning Day.’ We are so delighted with the results of this drive- the children have loved it too and ask, ‘When can we do our learning outside again?’

Inspired by this newfound energy, we are now looking forward. Our school field, land owned by Bradford City Council, is across a small road next to our school, grid reference SE129476. At present it is a plain and boggy field- we do cross-country on it and get extremely muddy in winter and sport day in summer. It is a blank canvas which we want to enhance to inspire us to use the space more often- just like we have with the school grounds.

We feel we need to try to elevate some of the wet land of the field by planting trees which would soak up water that pools there and we would also love to create an outdoor classroom, in a newly planted circle of trees within which we could put some benches for learning on. The children would benefit so much if they were able to get out into this wonderful space to learn: be inspired by nature to create writing, poetry, art work, sculptures- this would enhance their wellbeing. The scientific discoveries about habitat, seasons, adaptation, food-chains, classification and life-cycles give endless learning opportunities which become real in the field and are much more likely to have a lasting beneficial impact on each child.

It really would make a lasting impact on our school if we were able to work with the Woodland Trust to enhance this outdoor learning space and this of course wouldn’t be a short term fix; it would be a legacy the school could enjoy for many decades to come.

We envisage applying for a pack of native British grown saplings to fill in sections of the sparse 150m hedge boundary on the northern side of the site. A further pack will create a copse in the north western corner, with a circular glade large enough to seat a whole class; establishing our outdoor classroom. Information about the scheme can be found at the Woodland Trust’s website, here or we are in liaison with the scheme’s project officer should you wish to contact him.

If you require any further information about our plans for the site please don’t hesitate to get in touch, otherwise we look forward to receiving the council’s permission for us to go ahead with our application”.

The design

Shortly, each child will make their own aluminium tag (stamped- by them- with their name) to go on their tree and will measure it and plant it on either 26th or 27th March.

We are looking for volunteers to help with the planting and if they could get in touch at the office (then we will hand select a few!). On planting day all children will have to bring wellies and if they have a decent spade- we are going to need a few to borrow for the day please (named).

We would like to thank Mrs Cumberland for all of her efforts and look forward to seeing many of our parents taking part in this amazing project.