Welcome to Hylton Castle Primary School

Into the Woods and Beyond


What will she discover?

 What can we help her discover about herself?

What can we help her discover about learning?

What can we help her discover about life?

What lies ahead for her future?



We are currently involved in a very exciting project to develop our woodland area for curricular and community use. 


We believe that learning outdoors creates lasting memories, helps build a greater awareness of the environment, provides more opportunities to think independently, and gets children feeling challenged and excited by learning. Children are more active when they play outdoors; It is essential for their healthy development and enjoyment of childhood.

Outdoor learning improves children’s health, engages them with learning and leads to a greater connection with nature. Play not only teaches critical life skills such as resilience, teamwork and creativity, but is central to children’s enjoyment of childhood.


Outdoor activities are now integrated into our curriculum planning. All children  are timetabled on a rota to play out in the woods. They are allowed to climb  any tree that is marked  with a yellow spot! We have Woodland Warriors and playtime monitors who, along with staff, help to keep children safe while they play in the woods during break-times.


Development of Our Forest School

We are currently in the process of developing our Into The Woods Project. Our aim is to:

  • Weave outdoor learning throughout the whole curriculum in order to further motivate, inspire and engage children
  • Increase children’s love of the outdoors
  • Increase the level of children’s physical activity and fitness
  • Develop children’s life skills
  • Engage the community through the development of the community gardens, community activities, rental of facilities (for a small contribution towards the maintenance and upkeep of our woods)
  • Develop links with external organisations such as Cubs and Brownies, other schools, groups and organisations
  • Further engage parents in their children’s learning
  • Contribute to local and national priorities for improvement such as respect and enjoyment of what the local environment has to offer / litter reduction, fitness levels and active families


The working party leading this exciting initiative consists of our:

  • Headteacher
  • Nursery teacher
  • Year Five teacher
  • Business Manager
  • Site Manager
  • Parent / Associate Member of the Governing Body
  • Castle Kindergarten representative
  • Governor


Our Achievements so Far

  • Establishment of regular working party meetings
  • Land clearing
  • The installation of an outdoor classroom  (the school council to be part of the working party)
  • The design and building of a sensory path
  • Children with disabilities part of a working party to makes sure the main path through the woodland is accessible and wheel-chair friendly
  • Year 4 Viking Day (Living History Day) in the woods
  • Adventure / fitness trail ( led by our Sports Coach)
  • Alice in Wonderland themed week, Mad Hatter’s Tea Party
  • Use of fire-pit
  • Areas developed for Science activities
  • Performance Area established
  • Sensory area, Learning Lodge, fie pit, adventure trail
  • Early Years Team having attended Forest School training
  • Into the Woods activities incorporated into all teachers’ termly planning
  • Other schools renting our facilities for woodland activities
  • Outdoor carol service held around the fire
  • External speakers and lighting purchased
  • Greenhouse
  • Raised beds / community gardens for rental and for class use


Grants secured

  • Local Authority Community Chest award – for outdoor art gallery
  • Northumbria Water – for hibernacula
  • Community Foundation Fund – for outdoor art gallery
  • Gentoo – for installation of outdoor toilet


Volunteer Support

  • BGL – land clearance



  • BGL community volunteers – clearing and developing the woodland
  • ‘The Forge’ support through our Arts mark journey


Current Projects

  • Application for Awards for All funding for outdoor toilets
  • Application for Gold Arts mark award pending
  • Carols round the Fire, December, 2017
  • Performance Area currently being developed
  • Funding for outdoor toilet currently being sought
  • Outdoor art gallery – all classes to work with local artist to create an outdoor art gallery (natural resources only)


Hiring Our Into the Woods Facilities

If you would like to get involved in any element of this work, please do not hesitate to get in touch – we’d be delighted to hear from you. A brochure and very reasonable price list (we don’t aim to make a profit – just to cover costs)  can be obtained from the main school office.

We held an open day for other schools to visit – we have started to hire out the use of our facilities to schools who wish to explore the use of the outdoors in their teaching and learning. We are very much looking forward to working with members of the school and wider community to develop and use our woodland area. This is a very exciting project and should help us make learning fun and memorable for all children across the school. We are also excited to encourage community use of the facilities. We are truly ‘going into the woods and beyond!’


                                                                                                                                      Our very special story telling chair.