Slaley Hall hotel surrenders land for outdoor ‘forest school'

21 October 2014 by
Slaley Hall hotel surrenders land for outdoor ‘forest school'

Luxury hotel Slaley Hall in Northumberland has donated a piece of its grounds to help establish a new local school project that will see pupils taught outside.

The hotel, which is set in 1,000 acres of moorland and forest, has set aside a special area of land to help establish the project, named the "Slaley First School Forest School", which was officially launched by Slaley First School on 16 October.

The scheme has set up a classroom with shelters and log stools, to give students the chance to reap the health benefits of fresh air. The classroom will be used once a week, whatever the weather, with a specially-qualified forest school teacher taking subjects such as drama, science and maths.

Pupils will also be given free access to the hotel's pool, to allow them to train for the regional schools' swimming gala.

The project is said to be the first time a forest school has been set up in a hotel, and is inspired by the forest schools concept, which originally came from Sweden in the 1950s. It had made its way to the UK by the 1990s, and is said to create happier and healthier children who are more open to learning.

Grant Mckenzie (pictured left), general manager for Slaley Hall, commented that the scheme was exciting, and that the hotel was very happy to be playing a role in establishing the classroom.

He said: "Slaley Hall hotel takes its commitment to working with the local community very seriously. We are delighted to be helping Slaley First School fulfil its ambitions."

Rebecca Jackson (pictured right), Slaley First School's head teacher, said: "Without Slaley Hall hotel's generous offer of this dedicated space to hold the classes, we would have struggled to find a suitable venue. Now we have this area, our children can really benefit."

Four-star, 142-bedroom Slaley Hall is part of the De Vere Luxury Hotels group. Originally opened as a golfing resort in 1995, it now also offers individual lodges for guests within its estate, as well as a spa.

Slaley Hall named Hotel of the Year in De Vere Group's Excees Awards >>

De Vere appoints top roles at Slaley Hall and Cameron House >>

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