Schools in the Southeast will be able to apply for a grant to help provide fun educational experiences, such as hands-on conservation work, wildlife investigation, hands-on geography and geology, or ways to learn how to combat the climate change.
This follows a new round of funding from the South Downs National Park Trust, the national park’s official independent charity, supported by AMEX and the Sussex Community Foundation.
The initiative builds on the success of the grant program last year, when thousands of children enjoyed school trips to beautiful national park sites or participated in fun nature-based activities in their school playground.
Julie Fawcett, chair of the South Downs National Park Trust, said: ‘We are really delighted to be able to fund these vital school grants again. School trips and outdoor learning are such an important part of growing up and learning more about the world.
“Yet research shows that travel costs are a significant barrier to planning school trips. We believe that every child deserves the opportunity to get outside and learn about the natural world. Nature gives us everything – water, clean air, food – and it’s so important that young people take inspiration from it because they are the future guardians of our amazing but fragile planet.
Schools with more than 10% of students eligible for free school meals can apply for assistance when planning trips until the end of the summer term.
They will receive a grant of up to £750 (£500 travel, £250 activity costs) when they visit a site or provider from the South Downs Learning Network, which is made up of over 100 learning providers across the region. Grants will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.
Jonathan Dean, Education Manager for the National Park and who will help deliver the programme, said: ‘This fantastic initiative is about helping young people discover the special qualities of the National Park, bringing their program to life while enjoying the health and wellness benefits of a deeper connection with nature.
“Outdoor education should be part of all young people’s learning and development, and better understanding the natural world serves a larger purpose to inspire young people into actions and future careers that support a green recovery. “
Teachers and students raved about last year’s school trips.
Children from Bartons Primary School, Bognor Regis, enjoyed a trip to Marwell Zoo.
School secretary Debbie Camp said: ‘The grant has made a huge difference to our families, especially in times of Covid. Thank you for your support, it has made such a difference to our families and it has been so easy to apply for the grant.
For more information and to apply for a grant, visit https://www.southdowns.gov.uk/learning/grants-for-schools/