Eaton Hall Specialist College's Fringe Project Collaboration
17 April 2012
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Although many businesses, schools, organisations etc. undertake environmental projects within their own establishment, we felt that it was vital to give a little bit back to the local community. Therefore we re-established an old link with the Norwich Fringe Project, and began, back in 2008, going out in small groups to undertake conservation work in the inner city on a half termly basis.
The aim was to enhance the learning of our pupils who have social, emotional and behavioural difficulties in an outdoor setting, as many can’t cope or find it difficult to work for long periods in a classroom.
Delivering the project and linking it to the curriculum
Whilst out working with the Fringe Project, Matthew Davies, the Project Manager, explains the nature of the work we are going to undertake and why it is important. The work undertaken links in with the curriculum with regard to geography, science and PSHE.
Thankfully, Matthew is extremely accommodating and enjoys working with the children and as the only cost involved is transport costs, we have not faced any challenges to make the project successful.
Getting the pupils involved
It is down to the Eco-Schools Action Team and Eco-Schools Programme Coordinator to establish which groups to take out. We try to spread it out across the year, involving every year group and have, on occasion, taken out just one or two pupils who are struggling in school, as they achieve a great deal out in the field.
Benefits of being an Eco-School
The boys look forward to a session out with the Fringe Project. They boys learn how to use tools properly, they understand the importance of health and safety and realise that our environment can so easily be damaged, and that it takes a few dedicated individuals to make it right.
The work undertaken, e.g. fixing boardwalks, barb wire fences, removing scrub is all important and they can visually see what difference they have made at the end of a session, which gives them a sense of enormous wellbeing.
Educational resources and additional support
Consent forms were given to parents and all parents were happy to sign the form to allow the boys to go out and do the work. All staff are very supportive of the work and many have joined in with sessions. It is now a fixed part of our schooling here.
Measuring the impact
It is very easy to see the success of a session out with the Fringe Project just by talking to the boys afterwards. I get asked regularly “when can we go out with Matt again?”.
Get involved with a local project that does some form of outdoor conservation work. Getting pupils into the outdoors, no matter what the weather (and we have been out in the bitter cold, torrential rain and glorious sunshine), does so much for their wellbeing.
They can see that they are making a difference to their own surroundings and carry that on in their everyday lives by being more aware of the natural environment around them.
We are now getting a local school involved in our work with the Fringe Project, thanks to the ongoing support from Matthew. We will be working with a local infant school and our Eco-Schools Action Team will be helping little ones, with Matthew’s guidance, in small scale conservation projects in Norwich. We strongly believe in sharing best practice.