Staff at an Ipswich special school have been praised after raising more than £3,700 to improve an open air learning space for pupils. The Bridge School in Sprites Lane has undergone extensive improvements to its outdoor area – a year after opening a brand new secondary school building. It has now been capped by a new outdoor classroom which was funded by staff taking part in this year’s Orwell Challenge.
The installation was officially opened by Ipswich mayor, Elizabeth Hughes, who said she was impressed by the staff’s commitment and drive to make things perfect for their pupils.
Hazel Simmons, headteacher at The Bridge School, said: “Our amazing staff always go above and beyond for our pupils and I cannot praise them enough for what they have achieved here. Learning outdoors and physical exercise are invaluable to improving the engagement and learning, wellbeing and health of pupils with severe learning difficulties. We are very proud of our new building and the fabulous outdoor facilities that have been so badly needed for a long time – they are really contributing to the progress pupils are making as well as the happiness in the school. We are so grateful to everyone who donated so generously to this fundraising campaign and for Mayor Elizabeth Hughes for cutting the ribbon.”
The outdoor wooden classroom will give pupils access to a calming learning space while money raised has also funded cycling equipment for all abilities as well as an outdoor reading area as part of their Forest School.
Mayor Elizabeth Hughes said: “It was a great honour for me to officially open the outdoor classroom. The school, and the efforts of its staff, have ensured a wonderful facility has been offered to the students and to our whole community. My mayoral year is all about joy, hope and happiness and this project is a great example of this.”
Natalie Finnigan, Associate for Concertus Design and Property Consultants, said: “We are very proud to have been a part of the team to design and deliver this amazing and much-needed project for the students at The Bridge School. Spending almost two years on site, through some of the toughest times construction has known, the successful delivery of the scheme has been down to the drive and determination of the whole team. The quality of the build speaks for itself and the smiles on the faces of teachers and students alike makes all the hard work worthwhile.”