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Saxmundham students have been planting 350 trees around their school’s woodland as part of a scheme aimed at teaching the importance of protecting wildlife and the environment.

Year 7 students at SET Saxmundham School, part of the Seckford Education Trust, planted the trees donated by the Woodland Trust’s ‘Free Trees for Schools’ scheme on Thursday.

The initiative aims to plant hundreds of thousands of trees throughout the country in a bid to help the UK government meet its carbon net-zero target by 2050.

The school has also launched its own ‘Plant for our Planet’ campaign and made forest school, which involves teaching students about the outdoors and the environment, part of the curriculum.

Students have been spending their tutor periods this week learning about climate change, species extinction and the benefits of planting trees. They will also get the chance to see the trees they planted grow as they progress through the year groups at school.

The introduction of forest school, which is not part of the National Curriculum, has proved a hit with students.

Hannah Reed, the school’s forest school leader, said: “It is a fantastic opportunity to encourage our students to contribute positively to the local environment whilst gaining a greater understanding of the impact that each of us can have on our planet. “We are so fortunate to have a woodland here, and our students thrive on having the opportunity to spend time in the natural environment during their school days. There are very few secondary schools that deliver forest school as part of their curriculum. At Saxmundham we have noticed the positive impact that this has on our students and their overall learning and development. It is so wonderful to see a child come up with their own idea and to see the delight on their face when they achieve a sense of success and a boost in self-confidence.”

Stacey Wright, early years deputy manager at neighbouring Meadow Brook Playcare, added: “Forest school gives our preschoolers opportunities to play and explore outdoors for extended periods of time. It offers new experiences, challenges and risk taking opportunities that they may not get in the classroom. We have found that it has been very beneficial for improving children’s confidence, resilience, communication skills and social skills.”

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