LEADER of the Green Party Natalie Bennett visited Stroud on Wednesday to highlight the success story of a high-flying primary school.

The party leader dropped into Severn View Primary Academy for the afternoon to meet staff and pupils and get a taste of the school’s new ‘green’ approach.

This focus on engagement with nature and the environment has led to the primary school being ranked in the top ten per cent in the country.

Ms Bennett was given a tour of the academy and its grounds by pupils, governor of Severn View Simon Pickering and its principal Claire Wirth.

“The teachers have proven the positive impact of making nature part of academic education on children’s mental health and self-esteem,” said Mrs Bennett.

“I encourage the people of Stroud to get involved in supporting these efforts.

“This is a real success that should now be taken forward to benefit even more children.”

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Claire Wirth, academy principal, thanked the party leader for taking the time to visit.

“It was wonderful to welcome Natalie to our school to show her some of the amazing projects we are working on this year,” she said.

“The children absolutely loved talking to her, explaining our outdoor learning and their work in growing their own vegetables.

“She was very impressed by the level of enthusiasm and by the way the whole school has embraced these green values.”

The principal said that a key part to Severn View’s remarkable success was its choice to make outdoor learning an integral part of the Academy Improvement Plan.

Under the leadership of a newly-employed outdoor coordinator, pupils get to take part in a number of activities and lessons in the school garden.

Here the children get hands on experience digging, planting, pruning, harvesting and taking the classroom outdoors though Forest School sessions.

The school says this green fingered approach to learning is backed up by scientific evidence and is proven to help children’s mental health and self-esteem.

Another integral part of the school’s recipe for success comes from the Severn View Food Project, which has won national awards for its Breakfast Club.

The project focuses on improving children’s nutrition and food choices by cooking school lunches on site with fresh local ingredients sourced locally including the school gardens and surplus from local businesses.

The Teaching Kitchen also provides training to young job seekers and gives children the opportunity to cook their own food.

Governor Simon Pickering said: “We are passionate about this project and the possibilities for fun and learning are endless.

“We hope to build a bio-dome this summer and want to get more people involved as sponsors and volunteers. Severn View is a great place to educate your children.”

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