A few years ago Appledore Primary School began the process of developing a centre for enrichment and empowerment. Based within the school grounds, it would offer alternative learning spaces to meet the unique needs of every learner, whilst also promoting community spirit, sustainability and eco awareness. An experimental space where teachers, pupils, trainee educators and community members could work together to develop innovative ways to exchange knowledge.
This initiative began in 2015, with Kate Harvey working with the school to broaden the arts curriculum and establish the Harbour Art Studio, a multi-purpose creative space. The art technician and studio coordinator is currently Abby Falkner. In 2016 the school established a collaboration with Jayne Wheatley and Lucy Willans to reintroduce forest school as an after-school club and improve the school’s woodland resources. In 2019 this extended to creating an open-air classroom in the woods. During this year the school also became Devon county winner of the HSBC/Royal Bath and West of England Society Environmental Youth Award. In late 2019 work began to collaborate closely with teachers to create and deliver outdoor sessions within the curriculum, enriching classroom-based schemes of work.
A recent successful funding bid is now providing a polytunnel, chickens, woodworking and gardening resources, for a collaborative project between school and community. Future plans include a workshop for green woodworking, willow weaving and other rural crafts, and resources to explore science outdoors.
Productive collaborations continue, under the title of The Apple Tree Initiative - launching a bold, new phase of projects to benefit the school and its local community.