Parent builds outdoor classroom at Sidlesham Primary School

A new outdoor classroom will become an 'invaluable asset' at a village primary school.

Friday, 9th July 2021, 2:48 pm

The Nest was officially opened at Sidlesham Primary School last Thursday (July 1).

It will allow the children to 'make the most of the school’s beautiful surroundings' all year round, 'come rain or shine'.

It was built by a parent of two year 6 boys, Pete Melton, and the roof was donated by Sterlingbuild.

The ribbon was officially cut by Pete Melton’s sons, Oliver and Alfie

Mr Melton runs Chichester building company, Nest Building Solutions, and wanted to give something back to the school, where his children are coming to the end of their primary education.

He said: “My boys have been so happy at Sidlesham over the years, so I was really pleased to be able to help and give something back to the school before they leave next month.

"Now they are moving on, it’s great that they can leave something behind for future generations to enjoy.”

The Nest adds to the school’s 'already impressive portfolio' of outdoor spaces, including; an iron age roundhouse; tree ring; willow dome; pond; vegetable patches; large playing field and two playgrounds.

The new outdoor classroom will allow the children to 'make the most of the school’s beautiful surroundings' all year round, 'come rain or shine'

Acting headteacher, James Blake-Lobb, said the school is 'incredibly grateful' to Mr Melton 'for turning our vision into a reality'.

Mr Blake-Lobb added: "The Nest is already being put to good use, but I know it will become an invaluable asset for the school in the years to come. Having this flexible additional classroom really enhances what we are able to offer our children, not only during our Welly Wednesday sessions but throughout the week.

"It’s also recently become the new home of our Samba band as we have not been able to rehearse indoors this year.

"The pandemic has taught us a lot about the need to be outside as much as possible and leave space between each other. The Nest means we can now have the best of both worlds, with lessons taking place outside whenever required.”

The roof was donated by Sterlingbuild

Chair of Governors, Malcolm Foster, said outdoor learning is 'so fundamental' to Sidlesham and 'it’s great that we can do it all the more'.

He added: "It’s always been an important part of our culture to take learning outside of the classroom as much as possible and the addition of The Nest means that our teachers can now do that even more."

As part of the ceremony, hot chocolate and popcorn were prepared on an open fire in their tree ring and the ribbon was officially cut by Mr Melton’s sons, Oliver and Alfie.

School staff and governors were joined at the ceremony by some of the team from Little Diggers Montessori Nursery, who 'share much of the outdoor areas with the school'.

The Nest adds to the school’s 'already impressive portfolio' of outdoor spaces

They also share an ethos and commitment to outdoor education and will be able to make use of the new classroom.

Nursery principal Ellie Smee said: “We are truly passionate about the benefits of outdoor learning and The Nest offers us yet another way for our children to make the most of

our beautiful surroundings.

"We’re incredibly fortunate and thankful to Mr Melton for building the classroom and to the primary school for letting us share it with them.”