Beulah Hill academy’s eco centre takes lessons into the woods

Ahead of the opening of Harris Academy Beulah Hill in September, the school – currently part of Harris South Norwood – has launched its own eco centre, based in part of the ancient North Wood, with an eco classroom, a pond, beehives and dense areas of woodland with plenty of nesting and foraging opportunities for the local wildlife.

Eco tour: guests and staff were guided around the school’s new eco centre by prefects and pupils

“In the heart of the city, this area is an untouched portion of natural beauty- a fantastic resource that will not only be beneficial to the school and its pupils, but also to the local community and wider Harris Federation community,” a spokesperson for the school said.

At a ceremony to mark the opening of the eco centre, guests included Rebecca Hickey, the Harris Federations’ secondary director; Lee Malin, assistant secondary director; Karen Haward, geography consultant; Anna Orridge, Harris’s green coordinator; and Dill Anstey the vice-principal of the Sixth Form.

In his opening remarks, the principal, Billy Goldsmith, spoke of the significance of the area, and how the eco centre fits into the greater plan for the new, standalone school.

Head prefect Shabiha Mukilan led a guided tour of the area for the guests, including the unveiling of the name for the area as the HEW-Blake Ecological Centre. The name was determined as part of a school-wide competition, in honour of the long-serving premises manager at the site, Owain Blake.

Doraine Bonnick, the school’s head of science, spoke about the plans for the Ecological Centre, using it in British Science Week activities, where pupils were taught to classify scientifically organisms in the area.

Eco classroom: some of the new facility on the site

There are also plans to incorporate the centre in meeting the requirements of GCSE science curricula. Other faculties, including geography, art and design and design technology, also have an interest in the centre to meet their own curriculum needs.

Visitors were also treated to a showcase of the work of the Year 7 and 8 scholarship group, highlighting how they have used the ecological centre in their projects this year.

Harris Academy Beulah Hill is a co-educational secondary school in the suburbs of Upper Norwood. The school will formally become a separate school in September, when it will offer open morning tours for prospective Year 7s and their parents or carers to see the school in action.

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