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Upham Church of England Aided Primary School

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Environmental Learning & Wildlife

One of the special things about Upham Primary School is the location! We are lucky enough to spend our day with beautiful Hampshire countryside around us, creating a quiet, green, natural space. It therefore follows that caring about the natural environment, with understand of farming, biodiversity and the need to live sustainably is part of what we do which is why most of the photographs of the children and school are so very green!. These opportunities to enjoy the environment run across the curriculum, including playtimes. In the autumn this includes picking and eating beautifully sweet apples from the wide variety of trees around our play area.

Learning Across the Curriculum

Learning about nature isn't just something for Science - though learning about living things, food chains and habitats is very important. Children also use strong experiences with the outdoors and nature to inspire creative learning, they enjoy curiosity and discovery when playing and develop positive spiritual growth as they explore what it is to be alive and the importance of protecting life. 


We have carefully designed our grounds to maximise the biodiversity that children can experience. There are deliberately 'corridors' of trees and planting that allow birds and animals to track from the surrounding countryside into our site. As a result children in Class 3 often watch spotted woodpeckers from their classroom window coming right up to the building, using trees as cover. The different habitats created in the environmental area create refuge for toads, slow worms, wood mice and huge populations of newts. Children use this area to explore these and many other animals and a highlight for all classes is a session pond dipping around of purpose built raised pond. We are also lucky enough to enjoy large resident groups of very rare solitary mining bees and teach the children how to protect and look after these special insects.

Here is some of the wildlife we have spotted and managed to photograph whilst we have been exploring habitats outside (in Science learning) or just noticed at playtimes:

Learning to be Safe

One essential part of learning about the environment is also learning to be safe and we teaching children about this alongside other learning. Often this is about understanding the risks, such as why hygiene is so important when pond dipping. We also discuss with children the real dangers such as poisonous berries or plants, such as foxgloves, and fungi so that they learn to co-exist; allow that living thing to survive and thrive but enjoy from a distance. 

Seasonal Change

As the seasons change there is always something different to notice and this is built into the curriculum. The strong experiences children get through exploring the outdoors or going on Autumn walks helps their learning of seasonality. We encourage children to also get involved in planting and gardening. Class 1 planted up tubs of vegetables and fruit to enjoy throughout the summer and Class 4 helped plant up some raised beds with insect-friendly plants to encourage bees.

Forest School and Visits

We were able to offer a forest school experience for our Year R children in the summer of 2019. This was highly successful. We walked the children to a local woodland area where the landowner kindly gave us permission to use. The children loved exploring the paths and creating stories out in the outdoors.

We also link visits, such as the Class 2 and 3 trip to Hillier Gardens and the Class 1 trip to a local farm, to experiences they have in school.