STAFF and pupils at a primary school near Burford invited Witney MP Robert Courts for a visit to their new conservation centre.

Windrush Valley School in Ascott-under-Wychwood has been using a barn at nearby Manor Farm as its conservation centre since September.

On Friday the centre was officially opened by Mr Courts, who was recently re-elected as the constituency's representative in the House of Commons, and staff told him about the outdoor activities pupils have been enjoying.

Victoria Taylor, special educational needs coordinator at the school, said children love learning about science, nature and geography in the outdoors.

Other activities have included making plum jam and elderflower cordial and planting trees with the help of conservation charity The Wychwood Project.

Ms Taylor said: "We are using one of the original farm buildings at Manor Farm, which has an interesting history, and we have been able to tell the children about that as well.

"It's fantastic for pupils to be able to come here and we bring groups here every week all year round – there is also a forest school for the younger pupils.

"We were delighted Mr Courts could come and officially open our new conservation centre – he stayed for quite a while and I gather he is quite a conservationist himself and a fan of bird-watching."

Ms Taylor said the project was launched by parent Robert Gripper, who lives at Manor Farm, and is now the school's conservation manager.

She added: "We want pupils to be able to learn outdoors and take a break from their laptops.

"The weather is particularly nice at the moment but we visit the centre right through the winter, rain or shine."

Windrush Valley School is an independent preparatory school for pupils aged three to 11.

Following its most recent inspection by the Independent Schools Inspectorate it was rated 'good' or 'excellent' in all areas.

The mixed school for boys and girls is unusual in that it is both independent and non-selective.