A SCHOOL has been recognised for its contribution to outdoor education.

St Mary's RC Primary School in Haslingden has been given a Step Outdoors Quality Award for securing outstanding outdoor provision.

Youngsters have been learning about different habitats and making their own perfume in the new outdoors area at the Lime Road school which also gives teachers the opportunity to observe them in a more relaxed environment.

To get the quality mark the school was visited by Lancashire County Council who gave them an action plan to implement over six months before they were assessed.

The programme was led by early years key stage one manager Kathryn Leedam.

Joanne Hodgson, who worked with Mrs Leedam on the scheme, said: "It has been about bringing the natural environment into learning.

"We have been looking at different habitats for different animals and how to build those, making perfume through collecting seeds and leaves and having discussions around that and seed pollination.

"It is also about teaching children about boundaries and what they should and should not pick up and eat.

"They have loved doing it and it has been such a good experience for them.

"Some of the children do not have gardens and do not get the opportunity to experience the outdoors in this way.

"It has been really beneficial and they are learning so much."

Headteacher Donna McNicoll said they have developed the school's outdoor area meaning kids can be taught outside throughout the year.

She said: "For early years we do observations which is how we assess children. It is easier to do this outdoors as they do not realise they are learning because it is so much fun.

"Children have to access the same curriculum outdoors so they are doing literacy and maths outside of the classroom.

"It is another award we have received that reflects our provision.

"I am very proud as it is something we have been working on for a while.

"We are an 'outstanding' school and this is one area we felt we could get better in but we did not have the space. Now we have and that's why we spent six months getting it right." S