The Meadows Primary School – Pond and Wildlife Project

Background

The Meadows Primary School and Resource Base is a three-form entry primary school in Northfield, Birmingham. The children are aged between four and 11 years; 45% of the school consists of disadvantaged children who receive free school meals and grow up in challenging circumstances; 24% of children have Special Educational Needs (SEN).

Challenge

The existing woodland area has become run down and unusable due to limited school funding, and apart from this, there are no playing fields, just a playground. The grant will fund the development of a pond and wildlife area within the school grounds. The objective is to enable the children to immerse themselves in the local environment while learning about biological and life sciences. The funds will also help pay for den building kits, wellington boots and all-in-ones for the children – an outlay that many of the families simply cannot afford themselves.

What impact has it made?

The whole school is benefiting from this project, including the children in the resource base (which is integrated within the mainstream school), who have a speech and language disorder. They sometimes have additional needs such as dyslexia, autism, ADHD, physical difficulties, sensory impairments or social and emotional development.

Why did they receive a small grant?

The project provides children with a vital opportunity to develop their STEM learning in a practical and engaging way which appeals to their individual needs. It also provides access to green spaces for students, many of whom will not have this outside of school. More so, the project underlines the importance of alternative learning methods outside of the traditional classroom environment – which is not always the most effective form of learning.

Science is a major part of what we do in every single curriculum and year group, and this project will have a huge impact on the children in our care. Due to the parents’ financial constraints, the children have very limited experiences of habitats beyond their own street. They don’t experience what a lot of children do, like walks in the countryside.

The grant will enable the children to develop their vocabulary of plants and animals beyond the classroom walls. The science curriculum from reception to year 6 includes plants and animals as a topic, increasing in complexity as the year increase. Developing this project would benefit every year group and vastly impact the children’s progress and attainment.

Due to home circumstances, many children within the school have mental health problems, so they need a great deal of emotional support and providing an area for calm reflection when they feel overwhelmed would vastly benefit the children in our care. We also hope this project will inspire and encourage the traditionally marginalised groups, such as the children in our resource base, to pursue STEM careers in the future; opening up a range of possibilities and develop the children’s confidence to pursue these careers in the future.

Alex Morris, Science Coordinator, The Meadows Primary School and Resource Base

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What We Funded
  • Building costs and materials for the construction of the pond area
  • Den building kit
  • Resources for activities (e.g. clothing, buckets, trowels etc)
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