Friday, July 19, 2024
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Great green outlook at Calverley school

When Calverley C of E School received 23 trees from the Woodland Trust to plant for 2023, teacher Anthony Harkins knew who to ask for help with the planting – his dad Mark, writes Anne Akers.

Mark, a keen environmentalist and my fellow allotment holder in the village, immediately agreed to help and, with the full backing of head teacher Robert Curran, set to work as a volunteer with the school’s Green Team of teachers and staff committed to developing the outdoor space.

Now, nine months later, not only have the trees been planted to create what will be a shaded avenue in years to come, but the school has its own woodland garden chill area, a vegetable patch and fruit trees, compost bins and clubs for gardening, litter-picking and woodland walks.

I went down to the school to see how the work was progressing and arrived to find the Year 2 measuring the trees and learning which would be the quickest to give them shade on their regular one-mile walk doing laps around the grounds (answer, the birch, but many of the children will be at university by then!)

Calverley is a rural place, so there’s no shortage of greenery, one of the challenges for the Green Team was to create a safe space for the children and somewhere shady to sit when the weather is hot.

Now there’s a woodland garden where they can sit, study bugs (they are fascinated by creepy-crawlies!) and collect fallen leaves for compost. The edges of the grounds have been left to grow to encourage wildlife and the children have sown wildflower seeds.

And when it does rain, there’s now a butt to catch it ready to water the vegetables.

Mark volunteers a day a week and is full of praise for the children and their teachers who have helped make it a greener place.

“They have transformed the grounds and are learning all the time about the environment they live in, plus they are enjoying the outdoors, whatever the weather!” said Mark.


  1. How wonderful to hear what you are all doing at school today.
    I attended Calverley C of E School from 1944 to 1950 and loved every minute of it. The headmaster was Mr Walker who lived in the house joined to the infant’s school.
    Mrs Gartside was my first teacher and taught the nursery class. We had a slate with chalk to learn our letters. There were little camp beds for the tiny children to sleep on if they needed a nap.
    Miss Waller taught the infants, up to 6 years.
    Miss Greaves taught the juniors from 7 to 11 years, scholarship level.
    When I started school at 4 years old I had to carry my gas mask. (The war didn’t end until 1945).
    There’s so much I could tell you about the school, such a long time ago.


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