A South Tyneside nursery school has been named School of the Year in a national awards scheme.
Boldon Nursery School – which provides 80 per cent of its education outdoors – was awarded the accolade and also carried off the title of Early Years School of the Year in the Times Education Supplement Schools Awards.
The decision of the judges was unanimous in naming it School of the Year.
The report from the judges said: “It is great to shine a light on the fantastic work being done in the early years sector because it is so crucial that we get education right early on.”
Ann Mroz, Editor of TES, added: “The exceptional leadership and the skilled and ambitious staff at Boldon Outdoor Nursery School makes this school stand out as a highly stimulating and creative setting, and the deserved winner of this award.”
Boldon nursery is committed to giving their children rich and interesting learning experiences. Its bold decision to provide 80% of its early years education outside has led to fantastic results and exceptional pupil engagement. One of the resounding aspects of Boldon is that equal importance is placed on academic and personal achievement with children excelling in both. Activities are designed to develop the whole child through a challenging and stimulating curriculum.
Not content with driving up standards within their own setting, team members pride themselves on sharing their forward-thinking approach, working with nurseries in the local area and across the globe in Norway and Australia.
Head teacher Sue Stokoe said: “We believe the best classroom and richest cupboard is roofed only by the sky. That is why we are committed to using nature and the seasons to stimulate children’s curiosity and enhance their learning.
“We are absolutely thrilled that our school has been officially recognised and believe this is a huge endorsement of our approach.”
The school has its own allotment which, following a fund-raising appeal, now has livestock. Youngsters reared chickens from eggs and now collect the eggs they lay.
The outdoor nursery provides memorable experiences for children to develop a love for learning across all areas of the curriculum. At its heart is the ‘firehouse’ where children explore the benefits of risk and assess and manage the risks that the world has to offer.
Councillor Joan Atkinson, Lead Member for Young People, Children and Families, said: “This is a tremendous achievement. Giving our young people the very best start in life is a key priority for the Council so it is wonderful to see one of our schools being hailed as an example of best practice across the whole country.
“I would like to thank the staff, children, governors and parents and carers for their enthusiasm and commitment to constantly challenge and innovate to provide the very best learning experiences.”
The TES awards, now in their eighth year, recognise outstanding contributions made by education teams and individuals to help students around the country to succeed, both inside and outside the classroom.