Dome enables outdoor lessons


LEARNING has moved outdoors at a Bognor Regis school.

The Living Room has been created at The Regis School to enable pupuls to study outside.

The outdoor classroom is in the form of a willow dome in the Westloats Lane grounds of the school.

It was officially opened by the school’s then principal, David Jones, just before the Easter holidays began.

He officially named the dome following a competition won by Hayden Cooke, from Laburnum Grove Primary School.

Andrea Coleman, The Regis School’s head of inclusion faculty, said: “Creating the willow dome has been an amazing project involving not only the children and their parents but also Year 10 students, some of whom are brothers and sisters of the Year 6 students.

“It’s been a family affair and has helped the school and families get to know each other well. Just like the new shoots on the dome, it will bind us together ensuring the young people have a well-supported start to life at The Regis Centre.”

Ten Year 6 pupils from local primary schools, their parents and grandparents worked with Sussex-based artists Mark and Rebecca Ford, of Two Circles Designs, to design, plant and weave the dome in The Regis School’s inclusion garden.

The project was part of the school’s forest school transition programme which helps students feel part of the school before they join its Year 7 in September.

Jamie-Lee Jones, 14, the sister of Year 6 student Kerry, said: “I loved working outside.

“It gave me a real sense of achievement to be part of something that will grow and be used for years to come.”

The willow dome is able to accommodate 17 students. As well as an outdoor classroom it can also be used as a place for quiet reflection and for hide and seek.

As a rights respecting school, The Regis School is supporting Unicef in raising awareness of the importance of environmental sustainability.

Caroline Saunders, the school’s assistant vice principal of inclusion, said: “Creating the willow dome is an ideal way of helping young people to understand the meaning of sustainability.

“We will be able to harvest the new shoots of salix viminalis and bowles hybrid willow every year to create new projects.”

The opening celebration was followed by a day among the Goodwood estate’s trees for the children and their families who enjoyed a variety of forest school activities.