Nestled within the Buckinghamshire countryside, six miles North-West of Aylesbury, is Waddesdon Village Primary School and it’s 220-strong pupillage.
In 2018, the school’s students had a vision to transform a disused and overgrown area next to their playground within the school’s boundary fence. This area was identified as the perfect spot for a small nature and pond area.
The purpose of the area was to provide a safe and inspiring learning area for the school children to enjoy the outdoors but also give the children a sense of responsibility for looking after the area and its wildlife inhabitants. The children also wanted a space as a calming area to go to; well-being was top of their agenda.
The project has been years in the making and started with a letter from the school’s Pupil Parliament Representatives to campaign for a pond. Led by schoolteacher, Pauline Cross, the school started to fundraise and the initiative was well supported by the parent community. With such a big task ahead, the school reached out to local councillors, Paul Irwin and Ashley Waite for help.
EKFB was engaged to discuss how we could support this project - a scope of work requiring planning and digging out a section of the ground ready for the new pond.
EKFB’s Civil Engineer for the Aylesbury area, Sophie Henderson, was keen to lend a hand, and had some ideas to get the project on the right track. Sophie enlisted the help of Dave Stephenson, also an engineer with EKFB, to help deliver the project and between work commitments, quickly got to work.
Local businesses, Blackwell, and HW Martin, supplied the material and labour for the outer fencing, creating a smart and secure boundary and the earthworks.
Headteacher, Laura Forchione, is thrilled with the new area, saying: “We are delighted to finally have a pond at Waddesdon Village Primary School after years of planning and the hard work put in by our pupils. Not only will this attract wildlife into our school grounds, but it will enhance the children's learning in school by providing endless opportunities to learn outside.
“Thank you to Miss Cross who has worked tirelessly behind the scenes, our Pupil Parliament reps past and present, our parent community for the kind donations and the volunteers from EKFB, Blackwell, and HW Martin, for creating this new space for us.”
The design, planning and build took place over a seven-week period and was completed in late November 2021.
This month, the school was joined by EKFB to officially celebrate the new area with its students, and for the past few months, the children have been immersing themselves in the nature area and enjoying the outdoor learning opportunities. The students have also been busy introducing new wildlife to the area and have introduced houses for hedgehogs and birds, as well as sowing wildflower seeds. There’s rustic seating areas and the new pond is a haven for newts and frogs.
Sophie also commented on behalf of EKFB, saying: “Thank you to everyone who has been involved in this special project, especially my team, the school and our subcontractors, HW Martin, and Blackwell, for providing the resources and labour required to deliver this project.
“I’m proud to be part of this initiative and to be in a position to give back to the local school. Knowing that I and EKFB are leaving behind something that the school will enjoy and benefit from for many years to come is such a rewarding feeling. I also hope that we’ve managed to inspire the next generation of engineers (or landscapers) during our time here.”