A SPECIAL outdoor classroom has been donated to Romsey Primary School by a property developer.

Romsey-based business Highwood joined children and staff at the school and nursery to celebrate the official opening of the classroom earlier this month.

Romsey Advertiser: Cllr Daas cuts the ribbonCllr Daas cuts the ribbon

Spruce Class, the new teaching facility, forms part of the Cosmos project, an initiative funded by the European Commission to establish the viability and sustainability of open schooling and collaboration in science education. Southampton university will now work with Romsey Primary School to collect data to evaluate the long-term success of science education within the new environment.

Highwood jumped at the opportunity to donate the new classroom to the school and, to get the project off the ground, while a team of Highwood volunteers spent three days transforming the outside area into a teaching space for the children.

Romsey Advertiser: Highwood volunteers Highwood volunteers

Local businesses, Carlton Civil Engineering, Ace Liftaway, Elliotts and Travis Perkins also contributed to the project, which saw an 'impressive community effort', that will provide invaluable educational rewards for the children for generations to come.

Mark Baskerville, CEO of Highwood said: "Highwood is a proud Romsey business and being able to support our local community is very important to us.

"Many of our employees are also local and we know the different acts of kindness can make to their families – especially when it involves children whose schooling has been affected by the Covid pandemic

"It’s been an absolute pleasure to do that on such a local scale for the children and teachers at Romsey Primary School."

Headteacher Jason Anderson reinforced the need for children to be given the space to learn after a period of such disruption.

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He said: "The pandemic and lockdown has had a huge impact on our children but we’re now providing a range of spaces for children to learn where they feel safe, happy and can readjust.

Romsey Advertiser: Volunteers during construction Volunteers during construction

"The new outdoor teaching space is an amazing opportunity for them to have their own special sanctuary and benefit from the special connection between nature and education.

"It’s also important for us to shape future generations’ attitudes to service and charity and to show the impact those values can make. Highwood has demonstrated that explicitly through its very generous donation – the message that gives is invaluable."

Romsey’s Abbey Ward Town Councillor, Nik Daas, was invited to cut the ribbon and declared the superb new teaching facility open.

He said: "It’s a wonderful space that will deliver huge benefits for the school.

"It will bring the children closer to nature and support them with their learning after these difficult years. Spruce Class will enable them to get out of the classroom and learn in a new, inspiring way and I’m sure they’ll make full use of it.

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"Thanks to Highwood and Romsey Primary School, this fantastic project will be a huge asset to the children of Romsey."

Hillier Garden Centre gifted the children a selection of seeds and gardening equipment and they wasted no time in potting an array of flowers and vegetables as soon as the new classroom was declared open.

Romsey Advertiser: Steve Matthews with Cllr Nick DaasSteve Matthews with Cllr Nick Daas