Uttoxeter outdoor learning site opens after fundraiser

A school has held an open day to celebrate its new outdoor learning site, built following a £20,000 fundraiser.

Leaders at St Mary's First School in Uttoxeter said they hoped to be able to open up the new facility for community use.

Teacher Nicky Malkin and head teacher Jo Moult, who led the project, said the generosity shown had been "phenomenal".

Around 400 people attended the event at the Staffordshire school on Sunday.

"Since Covid, we have seen a real decline in children's mental health and behaviour," Mrs Malkin said.

"We were talking one day and said we should use the outdoors a little more and came up with the idea of some sort of forest school...that small idea became a big idea very quickly."

Donations, she said, have come from "everywhere" including local businesses, a pledge evening and supermarkets - with also parents stepping in to lend a hand.

One parent, who works as a carpenter, constructed the outdoor classroom.

Head teacher Jo Moult praised the community for its "fantastic" generosity in helping raise the money needed.

She also praised Mrs Malkin for the "hundreds of hours" she invested in the project.

The school will begin using the facility regularly after the half term, with hopes other schools will also be able to take advantage of it, and an intention to open it up to community groups outside of school hours.

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