Reception pupils at Ysgol Gwynedd in Flint enjoyed their own taste of “I’m a Celebrity” recently in their very own forest school area.

The forest school has been a regular part of learning for a number of years and has been continually developed so that pupils can enjoy spending an entire day outdoors. The focus for the coming weeks are “I’m a Celebrity-type” challenges with additions including the creation of an emergency “dunny” toilet, a wet weather canopy , a hot chocolate station, a hand washing station and a fire pit for colder days.

The activities are led by an experienced forest school trained teacher and teaching assistant. This has been partly funded by a Welsh Government class size grant and is a creative way of making smaller group sizes whilst developing pupils’ skills outdoors.

Flintshire’s leader and cabinet member for education and youth, Councillor Ian Roberts, said: “I fully support this outdoor learning opportunity which is supporting our young people to develop and consolidate skills that they will use in the new curriculum for Wales. It is also re-engaging them after the school closures during Covid.

“The school is also taking advantage of the outdoor learning training provided by Natural Resources Wales this half term and are keen to continue to expand their learning in the outdoors.”

The forest school is used jointly by Ysgol Gwynedd and Ysgol Pen Coch and pupils play and learn alongside each other. During the day, groups of pupils from the other school year groups come and learn in the area and collaborate with the reception pupils, modelling language, teamwork and other skills naturally.

Head teacher at Ysgol Gwynedd, Dewi Wyn Hughes, said: “We run themed challenges, like the current one, although pupils are encouraged to generate their own ideas. Recently one group spent two weeks investigating dinosaur eggs and last week they found a hedgehog and that prompted more learning opportunities.

“Parents are very supportive and pupils are now confident and love their learning and play outdoors and we are keen to share good practice and are open to inviting teachers from other schools to see the site and we are hoping to run an adult community learning project for parents on outdoor learning ‘Wellies in the woods’.”