School children living in urban areas on the borders of the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) are to be offered the use of a new outdoor classroom at Rendcomb College and Junior School near Cirencester.

The school which is currently working with two local community projects, is opening up the use of the classroom to schools in urban areas such as Cirencester, Cheltenham and Gloucester.

Martin Watson, Headmaster said:

"This is a very special area that will enable Rendcomb College pupils as well as those from the wider community to access the curriculum in a hands-on practical way."

Standing in woodland in the school grounds, the wooden outdoor learning centre has been given full marks by pupils and teachers for the way it helps the children learn more about nature in a stimulating and ecologically friendly environment.

The project was financed with the help of the Cotswolds Conservation Board which provided £5,600 (66 per cent of the total cost) from the Sustainable Development Fund. The fund is administered by the Board and supports projects that bring social, environmental and economic benefits to the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

A Golden Rain Tree was planted by Jonathon Porritt CBE, co-founder of Forum for the Future, to mark the opening of the outdoor classroom in the summer.

Niel Curwen Chairman of the Cotswolds Conservation Board said:

"Sustainability is all about balancing our requirements with that of the environment with a view to ensuring that future generations will be able to meet their needs adequately.

"The children who learn this through the woodland classroom will carry their awareness with them into the future and that can only be a step in the right direction."