School pupils enjoy the great outdoors to win awards

Clavering pupils canoeing on the River Esk at Ruswarp in North Yorkshire
Clavering pupils canoeing on the River Esk at Ruswarp in North Yorkshire

Dozens of children at a Hartlepool school have successfully completed an environmental award by having adventures in the great outdoors.

A total of 36 Clavering Primary School youngsters ditched their computer games and tablets to enjoy caving, canoeing and hiking in the countryside to gain the John Muir Award.

Three Clavering boys in the Long Churn cave system in the Yorkshire Dales

Three Clavering boys in the Long Churn cave system in the Yorkshire Dales

They will be presented with their awards at a celebration evening tonight when family and friends will share in their success.

Clavering Primary School is an official provider for the environmental award scheme which focuses on wild places.

Master of ceremonies, deputy headteacher, Neil McAvoy, who himself holds the highest level of the John Muir Award, said this year’s scheme has been a great success with the children.

He said: “What has been particularly interesting this year is the number of pupils who have commented on the importance of spending time in wild places, acknowledging that they typically spend far too much time indoors using ‘entertainment media’.

Pupils acknowledge they typically spend far too much time indoors

Neil McAvoy, deputy head

“A lengthening list of scientific studies indicates that time spent outdoors and in wild places has huge impacts on mental and physical health which are both important for being successful in school and in their future lives.”

Last month, a number of pupils took to the water for a day of canoeing on the River Esk, in the North York Moors.

Clavering highlighted the words of broadcaster and naturalist Sir David Attenborough who stressed the importance of contact with the natural world.

Clavering Primary School runs an award-winning Outdoor Learning Programme with outdoor learning beginning early in nursery culminating with the John Muir Award.

A group of Clavering girls on the North York moors

A group of Clavering girls on the North York moors

School headteacher Helen O’Brien said there are many positive effects of the school’s involvement with the John Muir.

“Research highlights how regular time outdoors produces significant improvements in attention; learning ability; creativity; and mental, psychological and emotional wellbeing,” she said.

“We certainly see that at Clavering. Our John Muir Award Programme is one of the best opportunities that we offer and I would particularly like to thank Mr McAvoy, all the staff and the thirty-six children who have made this another extremely successful John Muir Award Programme this year.”

Clavering pupils at Carlton Outdoor Education Centre

Clavering pupils at Carlton Outdoor Education Centre