Ipswich SEN pupils given chance to learn outside in lockdown

Pupils from Thomas Wolsey Ormiston Academy

Pupils at the Thomas Wolsey Ormiston Academy have taken part in the RSPB's Big Garden Birdwatch - Credit: Thomas Wolsey Ormiston Academy

Pupils at an Ipswich special school have been given the opportunity to learn about nature in lockdown as part of the Big Garden Birdwatch.

Children at the Thomas Wolsey Ormiston Academy school in Ipswich have taken part in the annual RSPB initiative – with both pupils continuing to visit the school and those learning from home getting involved.

Students tallied the birds they saw and completed various numeracy tasks, while also being given the chance to embrace their creativity through activities which included creating birdfeed out of Cheerios and homemade fat balls.

Those who were not able to get outside were able to watch a livestream from the garden of physical development lead Kristy Hodgson, who takes part in the initiative every year.

At the end of the activities, the academy came together for an assembly where students were able to share their findings and creations – as well as a singalong to the Birdy Song.

Helen MacDougall, principal at Thomas Wolsey Ormiston Academy, said: “It was lovely to have an academy-wide activity which could incorporate so many subjects and skills for those accessing learning both remotely and in the classroom.

"Taking time in nature is vital for one's wellbeing, but also a chance to learn more about our surrounding environments

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“Thomas Wolsey Ormiston Academy has always shown its creative side and the displays made to showcase the students’ talents are simply wonderful.”

The annual event, which ran from January 29 to 31 this year, provides vital research to the charity and has previously helped to unveil a decline in songbirds.

Not only does it help to uncover where things are going wrong in nature, it also gives an opportunity to make things right.

A YouGov survey ahead of the birdwatch revealed nearly two thirds of those polled (63%) felt watching birds and hearing their song added to their enjoyment of life – especially since the beginning of the pandemic.

More than half (51%) of the 2,071 adults quizzed said the coronavirus pandemic had made them more aware of the nature around them, while two fifths (41%) said they had spotted wildlife in their local area they had not noticed before.

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