Installing a love of nature and the outdoors

By Alison Sefton, Norwich High School for Girls
Norwich High School for Girls has long been a pioneer in the field of outdoor learning. We are based on Newmarket Road, in an incredible green site boasting 14 acres of grounds, including several areas of mature woodland.
Pubished in Norfolk Director Magazine Spring | Summer 2023

Education: Norwich High School for Girls

“The air feels a lot cleaner, and you feel more positive when you’re outside.”
Luli, Year 7

Polytunnel horticulture

Our Prep School students benefit from forest school lessons in the grounds and their polytunnel horticulture is a big part of the prep setting. Food technology runs alongside STEM, art and coding for Years 5 and 6, teaching food preparation, nutrition, budgeting and healthy meal planning. By picking food they have grown in the polytunnel, cooking and eating it, students experience the journey of food from seed to plate, and learn to taste and enjoy new things. 

Duke of Edinburgh’s Award

In the Senior School, the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme is thriving, with the majority of Year 9 students taking the Bronze Award and many carrying on to complete Silver and Gold whilst still at school. Also, the Woodlanders Society has enjoyed renovating the original planned paths through Corner Wood, as well as adding important water features to attract wildlife.

Dingly Dell is a safe and enclosed corner of our grounds with our new allotments and Wood Cabin, the school wildlife pond, our Heritage Orchard and a growing bug hotel, all providing a fantastic resource for students. Biologists and geographers are able to complete pond surveys as part of their work on ecosystems, and some of our Sixth Formers have been instrumental in setting up the allotment beds.

Feeling closer to nature

All of these initiatives help our young people feel closer to nature, to understand a little more about the balance of the natural world and help them to be healthy and happy. We hope to equip our students with skills that will remain with them throughout their lives.

Being outdoors is the perfect counterpoint to screen time and to boost wellbeing. Breathing fresh air, chatting with friends and getting your hands in the soil: all these activities engage the senses. There’s huge satisfaction in caring for something you’ve planted and watching it grow.

David Bellamy, the famous conservationist, was inspired to study botany by a school trip to the Peak District. It’s our hope that the outdoor learning opportunities on offer at Norwich High (including our own annual trip to the Peak District), will spark a similar passion for nature amongst our students.

“When I’m in Corner Wood, I feel like a child in a good way.
It’s so fun running around and feeling free.”
Tara, Year 7

Installing a love of nature and the outdoors 1

Alison Sefton, Head of Norwich High School for Girls

T: 01603 453265
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