The pond being cleared at Bassetts Farm Primary School

Countryside rangers and parents clear pond at Bassetts Farm Primary School

East Devon District Council Countryside rangers recently spent a morning with parents and teachers at Bassetts Farm Primary School in Exmouth, helping to clear their pond.

The Countryside rangers who are hoping to work more closely with the local community in Exmouth were delighted to be able to help Bassetts Farm Primary School, which is part of a community of primary schools in Exmouth taking part in the Naturally Health Devon Schools Project.

This project supports schools to increase the amount learning taking place outside the classroom across all curriculum areas, by building a network of participating schools to share best practice and provide fully funded professional development opportunities for staff.

Increased amounts of learning outdoors have been shown to have a positive impact on both mental and physical health of pupils (Natural Connections Demonstration Project 2016).

Trainee ranger, Laura Goble who helped with the clearance said:

It’s great to be able to support a school which is bringing outdoor learning to their school. The pond provides a fantastic resource to teach children about frogs, fish, birds and the other wildlife they attract.

It is however important to keep a pond's surface clear of vegetation so that pond life can thrive. In a wildlife garden, brambles provides food and shelter for wildlife but it is important to control their growth as they prevent other floral species from establishing. It was great to work with the parents and staff to maintain this fantastic resource.

Hayley Stuart, an outdoor learning teaching assistant at Bassetts Farm Primary School said:

We set up the pond as an outdoor learning resource, the Countryside team very kindly helped with its maintenance. It was great to have the expertise and support of the two Countryside rangers as we manage the pond and garden at the school.

The children love exploring the garden area and discovering all sorts of creatures. We are looking forward to using the pond for pond dipping in the summer and hopefully seeing some hedgehogs in the autumn.

We’d really recommend other schools get involved and see how they can introduce outdoor learning to their lesson plans.

To find out more about the East Devon District Council’s Countryside service and education opportunities visit wildeastdevon.co.uk, or contact the Countryside service directly via countryside@eastdevon.gov.uk.