CHILDREN in North Oxfordshire have been learning about the wild side of education with a series of forest school activities for pupils.

Staff from Warriner School Farm in Bloxham have been visiting schools to introduce children to the world of nature and adventurous play.

Activities included in the classes includes den-building, campfire cooking, knot tying, learning to use bushcraft tools safely, making mud kitchens and identifying different wildlife.

The farm's leader Bev James has been going round schools to inspire students and teachers how to make the best use of their outdoor space.

Ms James said the classes were aimed at getting more children to experience the outdoors rather than always being stuck in a classroom.

She added: "Few children nowadays get the opportunity to play outdoors in the way that we did thirty or forty years ago.

"Parents have become very risk-averse, which means that important developmental experiences during childhood are missed out on.

"Forest School gives youngsters the chance to step outside of their comfort zones and discover new, and sometimes surprising capabilities and talents."

The scheme is now in its second year and includes all schools in the Warriner Partnership - including Wroxton Primary School in Wroxton which held classes this week.

Ms James added: "The children also learn to risk-assess for themselves.

"They gain in self-esteem, learn valuable practical skills, and develop social skills whilst problem-solving with their peers.

"It empowers them and introduces them to the fact that playing outdoors is a lot more fun than they had realised."

Classes take place every week during the year, with sessions being held in all weathers in the spirit of the outdoors.

Warriner School Farm is a 120-acre organic farm, purpose built as part of The Warriner School.

The project is funded by social housing provider Sanctuary's community investment fund, which supports projects which benefits local communities.

Sanctuary's neighbourhood partnership manager Kate Winstanley said: "We are delighted that we’ve been able to provide a second year of funding to this fantastic community-led project, which has already benefited many young people in the area.

“Not only does it encourage children to learn more about the outdoors but it requires them to utilise team working and problem solving which will be essential life skills for them in the future."