Pupils from Stockport based Norris Bank Primary School, have returned to Northumberland National Park for the second year running, to take part in a residential visit facilitated through The Sill project.
After the school's first successful visit in 2013, staff and pupils valued their experiences so highly that they took the opportunity to return again this year for the current year five intake to discover the National Park.
The pupils enjoyed a wide range of Sill experiences, including pond dipping, orienteering and exploring different habitats – all designed to enhance their understanding of outdoor learning. During their residential visit, they also stayed at the YHA Youth Hostel at Once Brewed, which is set to be transformed as part of the £11.2m Sill redevelopment of the current site.
Year five teacher Pam Koutsouvelis, from Norris Bank Primary School, said: "We had a fantastic trip up to Northumberland – everyone thoroughly enjoyed the experience. We took part in everything from learning about history, myths and legends in the grounds of Thirlwall Castle to an exciting outdoor treasure hunt.
"As with last year, pond dipping seemed to stand-out as the particular favourite activity amongst the pupils!"
Mandy Roberts, education officer at Northumberland National Park Authority, led The Sill discovery day. She said: "The activities the pupils from Norris Bank Primary School took part in, are part of The Sill's wider mission to encourage the younger generation to experience and enjoy the outdoors.
"Through a series of fun activities, we are also able to educate young people on the landscape, its significance and the importance of conserving it and protecting it for the future. The hope is that they will take away some of what they have learnt and put it into practice in their everyday lives."
Once operational, The Sill will offer a partnership-led educational programme for schools, universities and people looking to make a career in landscape management, as well as for community groups. In total, there will be around 23,000 education and training activity days a year, ran across the north of England and based on the areas very special landscapes.
As part of The Sill project's development and growth of its activity programme, the team is capturing all feedback and ideas and will be trialling a range of activities moving forwards. We are also keen to work with partners in the voluntary, private and public sectors to help run these programmes and help us to develop the programme in 2015 and 2016, in time for the opening of the Sill in 2017.