SCHOOLCHILDREN are enjoying the great outdoors — without leaving their school.

Youngsters at St John’s RC the Evangelist Primary in Bromley Cross, have helped to transform the grounds into a thriving wildlife garden, making the school home to mini beasts, which are already checking into the bug hotel. There are also rabbits and chickens in the mini-farm.

The school received a £3,000 grant from NatWest Bank to invest in the outdoor areas.

A group of 16 children in the school’s Eco Action Team, together with parent volunteers, teaching staff volunteers and members of the local community turned the area into an outdoor classroom in seven weeks.

The young eco-warriors drew up an initial plan for the outdoor area before deciding what the plots would be used for and developing it in more detail.

They built the grow beds, designed the mini beast hotel, made wildlife bunting and helped to design the chicken coop.

Year four teacher Joanna Hopkinson said: “They are learning how to grow different fruits and vegetables and how to look after wildlife and birds in the bird feeding area.

“Pupils are finding out about different types of mini beasts and habitats and how to grow wildflowers.

“They are also learning how to monitor the weather by using the weather station and how to look after rabbits and chickens in the mini-farm.”

Jo Hobson, a member The Friends of St John’s, applied for the grant as well as finding all the equipment for the outdoor learning area.

Mia Wiggins, aged eight, said: “Once the vegetables are grown we will be able to see which ones taste the best.

"It will be good to taste the fresh eggs the chickens have laid. We are excited every day to come to school to see the wildlife and the beautiful flowers that are growing.”