All the Sid Valley schools were nominated for a 2023 Champions Award – and there were some fantastic entries:
A big congratulations to all – and not only the winners!
The winner of the Sustainable Sidmouth Champions Award for schools went to … Newton Poppleford Primary:
Nicola Dowsing, Forest school teacher, receives the Schools Award for the work undertaken by pupils at Newton Poppleford Primary School, from Eleanor Carr of the judges panel. Photography by Kyle Baker
The winning schools were asked if they would like to pen a short piece to publish – to get their own take on what they’ve been up to.
We are delighted to have received this article from Ant Pope, Headteacher at Newton Poppleford Primary School:
During our weekly Forest School sessions children enjoy a range of activities including projects to monitor and enhance biodiversity within the school grounds. Children love to get hands on and thoroughly enjoy bug hunting and pond dipping, observing tadpoles as they grow into frogs during the summer term is a definite highlight. In January, we took part in the RSPB Big School Bird Watch and were lucky enough to observe many birds including a buzzard! We also have a wildlife camera set up to see what animals visit during quieter times; several local cats often feature and we once captured a fox!
To encourage more wildlife, we have planted spring and autumn bulbs in our allotment and several saplings on the school field. During the summer term, our older children donned their welly boots and rolled up their sleeves to clear the thick layer of weed that was clogging up the pond, we now have a much healthier pond to support a greater range of wildlife. The project we won our Sustainable Sidmouth Champions Award for was a bug hotel. Children used reused and recycled items including plastic bottles, pallets, and bricks and we are pleased to report many occupants have moved in and seem to be enjoying their new home!
We understand that change takes time, but we are looking forward to seeing our bulbs and saplings grow and hope to observe more wildlife within our grounds as time goes by. We have been generously supported in our efforts to enhance biodiversity by donations from a range of organisations including Kings Garden Centre, Otter Nurseries, Bulbs4Kids, The Woodland Trust and the ANOB.
We would love to join the next round.