The Lord Mayor of Chester, Councillor Jill Houlbrook, has visited Waverton Community Primary School to learn about their aim of becoming a Forest School.

The school applied to MBNA Foundation, the charitable giving arm of the Chester – based credit card lender, and received a donation of £2,500 as part of MBNA’s School Grant Programme.

The funding will help them set up a partnership with Broomheath Plantation, near Tarvin to deliver this exciting initiative.

During her visit, the Lord Mayor visited pupils from Year 5 while they took part in one of their Forest School lessons in the school grounds.

The Lord Mayor watched as they enjoyed putting into practice basic bush craft, survival skills and teamwork, as well as making links to subjects across the curriculum, which can be developed back in the classroom.

The philosophy of Forest Schools is to encourage and inspire individuals of any age through an innovative, long term, educational approach to outdoor play and learning in a woodland or outdoor environment. It is highly regarded in educational circles as a way in which to engage children in learning and help them make links with the wider curriculum.

By becoming a Forest School the aims are to:

  • Increase levels of self awareness
  • Improve social skills
  • Increase levels of motivation
  • Improve attitudes to learning
  • Increase levels of confidence and self esteem
  • Improve levels of physical activity
  • Make links across the curriculum to support learning

Pupils now have the opportunity to work with specialists over a period of six consecutive weeks, during the school year.

All the teaching takes place outside the classroom in the school grounds or in the local community - whatever the weather - with one session itself at the Broomheath Plantation.

To conclude her visit, the Lord Mayor met all the pupils and teachers and had the opportunity to talk with the school council and eco-committee.

All the children were fascinated by the Lord Mayor, the Regalia and listened with interest as she explained about her role.

Councillor Houlbrook said: “I would like to thank Waverton staff and pupils for welcoming me into their school.

“It was a wonderful opportunity for me to learn from the children about their Forest School initiative and I hope they found the information about the civic life of the council interesting and engaging. I look forward to meeting them again soon.”