Step Aside Sir David Attenborough!

Sutton High’s new state-of-the-art prep and nursery building, Fernwood House, is fast becoming a hot spot for a new generation of budding David Attenboroughs.

Since it opened in September, the sustainably built outdoor classroom has caused quite a stir amongst the youngsters who are fascinated by the outdoor learning terrace and the creatures the woodland garden is home to.

Prep School Head, Anne Musgrove, says, “There’s no doubt our new building has proved a big hit with pupils.  Fernwood was built with the primary aims of bringing climate change and sustainability into the classroom as early as possible.  Our building combines a traditional learning environment that naturally encourages exploration, discovery, and play while providing the perfect backdrop to teach environment and sustainability.  It has been carefully designed to include natural materials and lots of greenery to maximise health and wellbeing benefits and provide a calming environment.”

The environmental and sustainable ethos runs seamlessly throughout the vast curriculum which covers Orienteering, Trees, Plants & Flowers, Gardening and Well-Being, Sustainability, Animals, Birds & Insects, Weather & Climate Change.

Ms Musgrove, adds, “Our curriculum is called ‘Breathe the Wild Air’ which encompasses environment and sustainability and where the principal aim is to nurture ‘Moments of Wonderment’ through learning.  That is basically what we are about.  We know that our pupils are passionate about the environment and given the world needs to reach net zero in 2050 our girls need to be able to understand sustainability now.”

The new building was also inspired by research undertaken by UCL in 2019, pre-Covid, titled ‘Nature Nurtures Children’.  In this study children completed learning in the outdoors and they were surveyed both before and after.  The results were unequivocal.

  • 90% of children felt they had learnt something new about the natural world
  • 79% felt the experience and help their schoolwork
  • 84% felt they can do new things
  • 79% reported feeling more confident in themselves

Ms Musgrove adds, “These results convinced us that our sustainable approach to learning about the environment meant that our own teaching environment had to be relatable and tangible.   I think it has been a huge success so far and the feedback speaks for itself.  Fernwood House and our garden classroom are a blueprint for what classrooms of the future should look like.”

Reception pupil comments include,

Our school is about nature and you learn about the environment.”

“The carvings are so beautiful. It is like you’re in a wood.”

“Our school is unique; it is creative, and the wooden sculptures show so much skill.”

“Our school is about nature and you learn about the environment.”

“It relaxes you when you are outside, you feel calm.”

“It is calm place which is good for your well-being and mental health.”

Reception places for 2023 entry available.  Book your personal tour now

Sutton High Prep School

86 Grove Road, Sutton,
Surrey, SM1 2AL
T. 020 8225 3072

Sutton High Senior School

55 Cheam Road, Sutton,
Surrey, SM1 2AX
T. 020 8642 0594