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Arboretum project creates outdoor classroom at Bishop's Stortford College

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A purpose-built arboretum to support children’s wellbeing, mental health and outdoor learning has opened at Bishop’s Stortford College Prep School.

The project was initiated by a team of five pupils, now in Year 9, in 2020 as their entry for the United Nations Global Leaders competition to encourage sustainable development.

A pupil survey conducted by the team demonstrated the need for a peaceful space. A donation from the Stortfordian Foundation’s Annual Fund helped to cover the £21,000 cost of construction and furnishings.

Bishop's Stortford College prep school pupils in the arboretum (56990501)
Bishop's Stortford College prep school pupils in the arboretum (56990501)

Most of the furniture in the arboretum is made from recycled materials, including picnic tables and stage seating made from crisp packet pellets.

Prep school parents paid for hundreds of plants, shrubs and trees which were planted by 160 pupils from Years 3 to 8 over two weeks.

The Prep School Pupil Council donated £500 for bird feeders, bug hotels and waterproof picnic blankets among other items.

Studying outside (56990504)
Studying outside (56990504)

Bill Toleman, head of the prep school, said: “The mental health and wellbeing of our pupils is really important to us and it has been wonderful to watch this pupil-led initiative come to life over the last couple of years.

“The arboretum provides a dedicated space for pupils to enjoy some peace and quiet, be with nature and spend time together, as well as teaching opportunities using the stage or the outdoor classroom.

"It's a wonderful addition to our campus and I’m sure will be appreciated by pupils and staff for many years to come.”

Hard at work (56990514)
Hard at work (56990514)

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