Archive for May 19th, 2008
A bright and sunny day at Ashbeach School, Ramsey St Mary’s Cambridgeshire. And what a beautiful environment!
The last time I came up to work with the ASCA partnership, Ashbeach school were just about to get down to constructing their own classroom space out of straw bales! The school grounds are remarkable all round. Areas for peace and tranquility. Mini market gardens contain veg and flowers. A huge range of sculptures, all of them designed and built by the children, with help from the school’s artist in residence, David Swinton.
The straw bale “Hobbit House,” was the idea of headteacher Hazel Lambert. She was looking for an eco-friendly building to replace their garden shed, and it has turned in to an “outdoor classroom” which has its own wind turbine for generating energy. And the children had a hand in building it.
Ms Lambert said: “We are lucky enough to have an area of grassland and woodland attached to the school.
“We have an outdoor story area there and vegetable plots, looked after by each class. They sell their produce to buy the seeds for next year’s crops.”
With recycling in mind, the school were given a supply of old rubber tyres. The children filled these with a sand and hardcore mix (hoggin), to provide a base for the straw bales.
The tyres will act as an effective damp-proof membrane. The straw bale walls were rendered with lime to make them weatherproof.
The project took a remarkably short two weeks with help from, among others, Strawbale Buildings, based in Hereford. The unusual roof, which gives the structure its “hobbit-like” appearance, was designed by David Swinton too.
Parents and friends of the school helped with labour and other materials.
Ms Lambert said: “Local people were fantastic.
“They really rallied round and we are thrilled. The children were out there getting involved and they loved it.”
Hazel also valued the help of nine-year-old pupil David on his dad Charlie’s mini-digger.
Today, we were joined by staff from other schools in the area. The ASCA partnership schools include Ashbeach Primary, Upwood Primary, Ramsey Junior, Ramsey Spinning Infants, Bury CE Primary, Warboys Primary, Earith Primary, Somersham Primary and St Helen’s, Bluntisham.
The children were a really bright and lively group who were a credit to the staff at Ashbeach. They responded with great humour and imagination. The staff at the school have already risen to the challenges of Myst and visual literacy after the keynote I delivered at the conference last year. Superb stuff
Thank you to Hazel Lambert, her colleagues and the children of Ashbeach for a very enjoyable visit.