Parents Back Free School with Trees; Planting Ceremony at Site Planned for Outdoor Classroom

The Journal (Newcastle, England), May 30, 2012 | Go to article overview

Parents Back Free School with Trees; Planting Ceremony at Site Planned for Outdoor Classroom


Byline: Nicola Weatherall

PARENTS have shown their support for proposals to create a free school on Tyneside by taking part in a tree planting ceremony.

Plans to open a free school for primary-age children in Newcastle's West End are gathering pace and the latest stage has seen them identify a location for outdoor activities.

Whilst a site for the main school is yet to be confirmed, the organisers behind the West Newcastle Academy (WNA) bid hope to create a "forest school" - or outdoor classroom - in the grounds of Minsteracres retreat, near Slaley Hall, south of Corbridge.

Around 20 parents and children gathered at the retreat recently to plant 14 saplings to show their support for the plans. WNA project coordinator Richard Evans said "We believe the woodland surrounding Minsteracres retreat would be an ideal location for us to branch out to include outdoor activities should our school be granted permission to open in September 2013.

"Planting these trees has been a fabulous way of establishing roots and growing support for our school. We attracted families with children as young as 18 months to get involved and they have thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

"We would hope that this gives them a taste of the kind of activities that will take place in our school, attracting parent volunteers and allowing children to learn by exploring their interests in an outdoor environment."

Mother-of-two Maria Maza said: "I have signed the online petition for this new free school in Newcastle. …

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