Primary school goes platinum for nature

Cai Johnson, seven, with the Green Tree Schools Award platinum level given to Percy Main Primary in North Shields by the UK's largest woodland conservation charity, the Woodland Trust.
Cai Johnson, seven, with the Green Tree Schools Award platinum level given to Percy Main Primary in North Shields by the UK's largest woodland conservation charity, the Woodland Trust.

A North Shields primary school has become only the second in the North East to scoop a prestigious award for its efforts in encouraging youngsters into nature.

Percy Main Primary has received a Green Tree Schools Award platinum level from the UK’s largest woodland conservation charity, the Woodland Trust.

The charity has, over many years, rewarded schools for environmental projects which encourage outdoor learning.

Through its Green Tree Schools Award, schools are able to gain points for completed nature challenges and progress through the Trust’s award levels bronze, silver and gold. Only after the compulsory gold level is achieved are schools able to progress to the next two big challenges to achieve the platinum award.

Percy Main Primary has, over the past seven years, been accumulating points through completing various challenges, including recycling, applying for and planting free trees from the charity, taking photos, becoming woodland ambassadors and creating and mapping trails.

Karen Brownrigg, the school’s higher level teaching assistant, said: “This award is the result of a lot of hard work and would not have been possible if the children had not embraced each of the challenges we have undertaken with such passion, enthusiasm and excitement. We feel immensely proud of our achievement.”

Donna Callaghan, the school’s deputy headteacher said: “The children recognise the importance of woodland, forests and trees and have been truly inspired to explore the environment around them”.

The Woodland Trust took on new Woodland Learning Officers to help and encourage schools to undertake and achieve Green Tree Schools Award levels, thanks to funding from players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

Caron Henderson, the Woodland Trust’s Woodland Learning Officer* for the North East, helped Percy Main Primary through the process. She said: “Congratulations to them on achieving Platinum Award in our Green Tree Schools Award scheme. We work really hard with schools to inspire them to get youngsters into nature; after all they are the future! By immersing them in nature, through the Green Tree Schools Award, we hope they grow up wanting to protect the environment.

“We were all so impressed with the children’s work at Percy Main Primary that we are displaying the giant photograph in our reception at our head office in Grantham.

“It is a major achievement to get Platinum and the whole school should be so proud of meeting all of the award challenges.”

The school will continue to work in partnership with the Trust and support the work that they do.