Building starts on new school sensory garden

Pupils at Southway Junior School, Burgess Hill SUS-160226-134717001
Pupils at Southway Junior School, Burgess Hill SUS-160226-134717001

Building has started on a new sensory garden at Southway Junior School in Burgess Hill.

Work began following a £2,500 grant from Burgess Hill Town Council to Southway Home School Association which has been fundraising to develop the school’s outdoor learning environment for its 337 pupils.

Over the course of the last couple of years, the association has raised over £12,000 to provide a bird hide, boardwalk and storytelling garden.

The school says the sensory garden will be a place for the children to learn, discover, explore, reflect, talk, listen, smell, touch, watch, play and enjoy.

Sensory gardens are known to encourage communication and social skills, improve self-esteem, and reducestress and anxiety.

Work has begun on creating the sensory garden’s central element – the outdoor classroom.

The rest of the project will be developed in stages and will include a waterfall, dry river bed, board walk, wooden musical instruments, succulent planting and tactile boards.

Headteacher Pete Newbold said: “Our Home School Association and parental body have worked tremendously hard to fund our outdoor learning projects to date. We are truly grateful to Burgess Hill Town Council for the grant which has kick-started our sensory garden project and will provide even greater opportunities for the children to make the most of learning in the superb grounds we are fortunate to have here at Southway Junior School.”

School association committee member Sarah Thomas said:“The Home School Association is committed to completing the sensory garden as soon as possible and to this end we have numerous fundraising events throughout the year. We have recently received a donation of £1,000 from Persimmon Homes and would welcome the support of any other local businesses who would like to work with us to finalise the project.”

Anyone interested in supporting the school can contacttheschool on 01444 233824 or email