Wiltshire Wildlife Trust has announced plans to apply to open the county’s first Nature School in Chippenham. Under the umbrella of The Wildlife Trusts, they will be seeking permission from the Department for Education this March to create four new primary schools in England under the Free Schools programme.

Known for the time being as Nature Schools, the Wildlife Trusts are undertaking this initiative because of their belief that educating children through nature is beneficial to their overall academic achievement.

Dr Gary Mantle, Chief Executive of Wiltshire Wildlife Trust, said, “We have been doing Forest School sessions with local schools for many years and have seen significant improvements in pupil behaviour and achievement. For us this is the next step. Rather than it being a weekly treat, we want to make nature the medium through which children learn all their subjects.”

Wiltshire Council has advised Wiltshire Wildlife Trust that one of the areas in greatest need for extra school places is in Chippenham. The proposed 1,000 home Rowden Park Garden Village development by Crest Nicholson contains a new primary school which the Trust has chosen as the location for its first Nature School.

Dr Gary Mantle, Chief Executive of Wiltshire Wildlife Trust continued, “As part of our application to the Department of Education we need to ensure that there is support from the local community for a Nature School. So we’d like to hear from parents who would be interested in sending their children to our school.”

Those wanting to register their support for the Nature School can visit www.natureschools.org.uk/wiltshire. Wiltshire Wildlife Trust will also be holding a drop-in session on 24 February, between 12.00 and 4.00pm in the foyer of the Chippenham Town Council offices on Chippenham High Street.