Okehampton Nature School update

Photo, Catherine Burgess

DWT has received news regarding our proposal to create Devon's first Nature School.

Devon Wildlife Trust has been working alongside the recently formed Red Kite Academy Trust (Red Kite) to open the first Nature School in Okehampton.

In September Red Kite submitted applications to become a School Sponsor and to enter a competitive process administered by Devon County Council to open the new school in Okehampton.

We have recently been informed that our application to become a Sponsor was unsuccessful. The reasons aren’t entirely clear, and we are seeking further clarity.

But sadly, without Sponsor status we are unable to continue with our application to open the Okehampton School and have had to withdraw from the process.

This has come as a huge disappointment to the Red Kite Trustees and all the DWT team who invested so much of their time and energy in this project.

Our collective passion and drive to open the very first Nature School in Devon remains very much alive. We will be learning from this temporary setback and we take much courage from the overwhelming enthusiasm we received from Okehampton communities and those from across the country who continue to be inspired by this new approach to primary education.

We would like to thank everyone who provided their enthusiasm, attended open events and were willing to write to their MPs or Devon County Council in support of the Okehampton Nature School. There is no doubt that your support strengthened our application hugely.

We may not have been successful on this occasion, but the move towards promoting education through nature is growing in strength.

Red Kite is still seeking to open Nature Schools in England, and will keep supporters well informed through the website www.natureschools.org.uk

Emily Stallworthy