To embed local environmental education, local natural history and local human history into our curriculum here at Bury.
Bury Rangers began as weekly forest school sessions in 2017 but organically evolved as we recognised expertise within our staff, and the richness of our local environment, and how this could be used to create a curriculum that offered children the opportunity to learn about the local environment, through the local environment first hand. We work alongside local experts to provide high quality environmental education, natural history and human history education all based on the local areas. Some of the organisations that support us are South Downs National Park Authority, Sussex Wildlife Trust, South Downs Art Society, Bignor Roman Villa, Friends of the South Downs and others.
We have further developed a long-term curriculum with explicit coverage of National Curriculum objectives across a tighter range of subjects. Bury Rangers covers science, Design Technology and Dance among many other things. Some of the rich Bury Rangers topics previously taught through our Bury Rangers session will be put into the long-term plan to be taught outside of these sessions – beginning to filter the environmental education into the wider curriculum.
Design technology is now taught explicitly through Bury Rangers. Opportunities to cover all the DT national curriculum objectives have been identified in a ‘Bury Rangers’ way – meaning these can be done through designing and making environmental or historical themed products outside in the natural environment, using natural resources where possible.
Physical Education – Dance
Dance is now explicitly taught through Bury Rangers as country dancing and Maypole dancing on a 2-year cycle. This is directly linked to Sussex Day celebrations and the children have the opportunity to display their dances at the festival. Country dancing and Maypole dancing are pan-cultural dance traditions and are very prevalent to our local area alongside other dances such as Morris dancing.
Key Stage 1 Science
Key stage 1 science is explicitly taught through Bury Rangers with the exception of objectives covering human biology which will be taught in class-based science lessons. Key stage 1 science is predominantly environmental based and so children are taught through hands-on activities in the outdoor environment. Their learning is recorded in a class floor book which is a wonderful way of demonstrating the children’s learning through photographs, quotes, observations and children’s own recorded responses.
Key Stage 2 Science
All environmental based science topics within the National Curriculum are taught through Bury Rangers. This means that plants, living things, animals including humans, rocks, Earth and space and evolution and inheritance are taught during Bury Rangers sessions. The lessons take place outside in the natural environment, using the environment to support the learning of the National Curriculum objectives in a real and hands on way. Teaching Science in this way provides real experiences for the children and embed their knowledge and understanding of the natural environment. Knowledge organisers have been created for each topic in Science which are compiled directly from the objectives in the National Curriculum. From these, the planning is created and flash cards have been made to support retrieval of knowledge throughout the year. Retrieval practise is an activity led by the class teacher at another point in the week to assess the children’s knowledge and understanding of what is being taught in Bury Rangers sessions at that time. Flash cards from a variety of curriculum areas are also used at the beginning of Bury Rangers sessions to support retrieval of knowledge across years.
Design Technology and Science learning are recorded in floor books rather than individual exercise books. Individual exercise books will still be used in Year 5 and 6 to support classroom learning and more detailed written work.
A floor book provides teachers with a manageable and meaningful way to monitor and assess individuals and groups of individuals through a combination of written evidence, drawings, photographs and quotations of observations made by the teacher and teaching assistant. Some children will be able to explain their science investigations and conceptual understanding orally, but may struggle to present this work in a written form in their exercise books. Using drawings, discussions and oral presentations enables all children to demonstrate what they know in science and in DT.
Floor books are a manageable way of recording learning which takes place outside and in a more practical manner. It has also been found that children are motivated because they enjoy seeing their photos and their work in the floor books. Key vocabulary is reinforced when children browse through the floor book.
Children are required to arrive at school dressed for Bury Rangers on the day their class is scheduled on the timetable.
They should wear or have available to them:
Waterproof coat, with a hood.
Long sleeved top to protect arms (all year round)
Full length trousers (please no jeans as they take a long time to dry)
Warm boots (wellies can be very cold during the winter)
Warm Socks, and a spare pair
Gloves and Woolly hat – Cold weather
Sun hat: that fits well to ensure good visibility– sunny weather
Children and parents are encouraged to think about the usefulness of their clothing for outdoor activities, and to be aware they are likely to take some of our mud home with them after a session.
We do have waterproof clothing for all children and adults and this will need to be matched to the child prior to the session and checked for suitability.
We work on the principle that “there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing”.