Oakfield wins a Silver Outdoor Play and Learning (OPAL) Award
Oakfield have now incorporated an outdoor play and learning initiative, with the aim of re-structuring playtime at the Academy. This has involved introducing playtime activities and toys as well as creating areas where pupils can play and socialise. The aim of OPAL is to ensure all pupils have a rich, varied and positive experience throughout the school day. A specially developed play policy is now available to download from our policy page.
With funding from the Oakfield Fundraisers and the Fruitfull Project, we have further developed the playground by planting fruit trees and installing a new ‘Oasis’ area; which includes: a tepee, seating, a play mound, and planting. Seating, tables and planting have also been introduced throughout the school grounds. The Oasis area was officially opened this March (on a foggy day) by the Deputy Youth Mayor, Alex Shingler.
The Award Winning Discovery Orchard (Fruitfull)
The Fruitfull project began in 2010 and was part of a national initiative by Learning Through Landscapes to re-introduce rare apple varieties, orchard skills and apple traditions into schools. Oakfield formed a pupil Apple Core Club to work on the project, mainly comprised of pupils who show a particular interest and/or gifted and talented aptitude in science. Awards: 2011 Somerset Education Business Partnership award.
To carry out the project, Oakfield formed partnerships with local first schools, Trinity, Mells and Norton St Philip. Fruitfull also gifted mini orchards to our partner schools as well as to Frome College. During the course of the project: pupils chose local apple varieties to grow, carried out research into apple heritage, visited a local orchard, played apple games and pressed juice. Pupils also took part in apple traditions (such as the Wassail,) grafted varieties onto root stock and eventually planted all the orchard trees. The Apple Core Club designed the orchard, which is located across the school grounds, in the shape of a Somerset Wyvern.
Apple Day: In 2013, Oakfield hosted Frome Apple Day in association with Frome Apple Group, Sustainable Frome and Fruitfull. The event marked the end of the Fruitfull project, although the Apple Core Club will continue to maintain the orchard and use its fruit.
Nationally Recognised Tree & Wildlife Planting:
In 2010, Oakfield began a project to plant trees at the Academy, particularly around our perimeter fence. The Woodland Trust donated our trees and hedgerow shrubs and we have now planted more than 200 deciduous trees and shrubs. In 2011 we were shortlisted for the National Forestry Commission Schools Award for our work on the project.
Wildlife planting and ‘breathing space’ areas have been added to the Harmony Gardens (which surround the Outdoor Stage) and pupils are conducting an ongoing audit to see if, through our efforts, we have attracted more wildlife to the Academy. We are also a pilot school for the Somerset Wildlife Trust’s project to create linking woodland areas and wildlife corridors across Somerset, as they attempt to re-create the area’s ancient Selwood Forest.
Award Winning Outdoor Stage & Gardens, funded by the Big Lottery, The Somerset Gardens Trust, Oakfield Fundraisers and Frome Town Council provide a wonderful retreat, arts space and learning centre for the school community.