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Brora And Helmsdale Schools To Enjoy New Outdoor Learning Classrooms

4th February 2022

Photograph of Brora And Helmsdale Schools To Enjoy New Outdoor Learning Classrooms

Brora Primary and Helmsdale Primary and Nursery are now the proud new occupants of outdoor learning classrooms. A place where pupils can connect to their environment, with each other and have free space to be creative, shelter from inclement weather and play together outdoors all year round.

Thanks to a stream of funding, Helmsdale Primary has two new outdoor classrooms and Brora Primary has one. The outdoor classrooms were made possible thanks to a combination of funding from the Lord Leverhulme Charitable Trust, Gwen Mayor Fund, Balcas, community funding, donations and a great amount of hard work and tenacity by the parent councils and staff.

Education Committee Chair, Cllr John Finlayson said: "The new outdoor classrooms at both schools offer a great space for pupils of all ages to use. Having this space will spark imaginations and support children in exploring spaces and places in creative ways. It takes a great deal of planning and coordination to bring together such valuable spaces and I commend all those involved in making it all come together. I'm sure the pupils will get many years of enjoyment from their new learning environments."

Brora and Helmsdale Head Teacher, Dawn McKenzie said: "The key benefits of outdoor learning are allowing people to immerse themselves in their own environment, relating their learning to their environment and being able to apply that learning. The dynamic and flexible space will undoubtedly enhance creative learning and play, it's a multi-purpose space to be enjoyed in all weathers and being surrounded by our wildflower garden is an enjoyable environment for both the children and staff. I am proud of all the team that have worked hard to bring the outdoor classroom to fruition, it has been a real community effort and we are grateful for all the hard work in making it all come together. Pupils of all ages are already enjoying the outdoor learning environment and the staff are inspired by the new space and are hard at work planning new ways to learn outdoors."

Helmsdale and Brora have strong connections to the sea and land based heritage as well as coastal and crofting communities and are well known areas of interest relating to geology, minerology and fossils. The outdoor classrooms open opportunities to map out and explore the area whilst developing language, maths and science skills.