School in Durham adopts ‘The Ponderous Pit Pond’

31st January 2022

Easington Colliery Primary School are educating their pupils about their local coastline in order to help them further their understanding of the history of their local area.

The school children were involved in a project which focussed on improving the nature reserve, which is situated on an old pit site. Major improvements were made to the site with the ponds cleared, fences installed, over 300 water and pond plants planted to improve the ecosystem and a network of paths installed to improve access so people from the local community could see the great work which had been done. After this was completed the school adopted a pond named ‘The Ponderous Pit Pond’ which was accompanied by a sign as well as an interpretation board which visitors can now see.

During the restoration the pupils were taught about the local history of the pit town and the impact which mining had on the local environment and how the coastline had changed since the pit closed.

The school has taken advantage of having this amazing nature reserve on their doorstep, helping them to use the local area as a learning resource as well as boosting parental engagement through utilising the local area for many of their topics in school. They include World Around Me with Reception, My Corner of the World with Year 1, Rocks and Soil with Year 3, Local Mining Study with Year 4, along with Year 4 and Year 5 pupils taking part in ‘forest bathing’ activities on the nature reserve site, last summer.

This term, the PSA (Parent Support Adviser) is helping at ‘The Barn’ to organise wellbeing walks, for families, along the beach banks with the aim to set up a self-help group.

Beverley Jones, Head Teacher of the Primary School said:

‘At Easington Colliery Primary School, our curriculum is carefully planned to ensure that every opportunity is taken to acknowledge the legacy of the past – the lessons learned and the impact of past events, on life today.  In addition, as geographers, pupils are encouraged to consider their place in the world and the responsibility they have to be future leaders of change, in their community and beyond.’

6 pupils, along with Science Coordinator Miss Amy Bartram and Network Manager, Mr. Phil Craig, took photos and video footage of the site and were joined by BBC’s Countryfile team who emphasised how much the area has been transformed and to show the next generation making the most of the old pit site.

Another project which the school has been recently involved in was the ECO2 Smart Schools Climate Change Conference. In school, Year 6 pupils looked into aspects of climate change, how it impacts on their community and what they can do as a response to climate issues, both locally and globally. They worked towards several pledges, including being mindful with water products, monitoring energy usage and taking part in new planting. The children ended their journey by attending the Climate Conference online, joining many schools across the globe to listen to their ideas, pledges and findings from their own projects.

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