Investigating the ‘Outdoor Classroom’ at Epping Forest

Form 6 pupils were eager to get their hands dirty and wade into the river, despite the heavy rain, when they visited Epping Forest Field Centre, a Special Area of Conservation. Head of Geography, Miss Grant explained: “We practised working together in groups, learned about delegation of tasks, our role of responsibility to the group as a whole and how to sustain interest and high quality work in inhospitable surroundings, whilst also learning about the changing course of rivers”.

The young geographers were encouraged to get thoroughly muddy as they studied the source of Loughton Brook at the Essex centre. One Form 6 pupil explained that the purpose of their visit was to investigate the changes in the characteristics of a river and this included getting to know little river creatures at close proximity, as the pupils measured the width, depth and velocity of the river, as well as changes in the shape and size of its bedload.

Miss Grant commented, “The children did us proud and the centre staff commented on the fact that their underlying knowledge of rivers and their processes were better than some GCSE pupils. It was amazing to see so many pupils enjoying the mud and two of the children brought huge amounts of laughter and fun when they either fell over or got stuck in the mud! A great day was had by all.”