A new sensory garden will help a Lynn school do even more to reduce conflict in and exclusions from its classrooms, officials say.
Pupils, parents and staff are currently digging deep to work on the project at the St Edmund’s Community School, which they hope will be completed by Christmas.
Earlier this year, the Kilhams Way school was praised by Norfolk County Council for its use of restorative approaches to resolve problems.
The school has been pioneering the practice, in which children are brought together in circles and encouraged to discuss their thoughts and feelings, for the last three years. Conferences with parents are held after more serious incidents.
And the approach has seen the number of absences drop from 342 in 2008-9 to just eight in 2013-14.
Project co-ordinator Linus Marray-Woods said the project had been inspired by the children in the Year Five and Six classes, who gather in a circle and practice mindfulness meditation each day before lessons begin.
He said: “They find it really useful to talking about their thoughts and feelings.
“The idea behind the garden is to give a space where the children can sit, think, read quietly, talk with children and friends and as a place to escape from the noise of everyday life.”
The garden, which will also be available to parents and staff, will double as an outdoor classroom, which officials hope will inspire children to learn more about nature.
Teaching assistant Glenn Russell said the whole school community would “benefit enormously” from the project and praised parents for getting involved.
The project is costing around £5,000 to complete, with most of the funding being provided by the West Norfolk Partnership. The school’s parents’ fund is also making a contribution.
Partnership chairman, and West Norfolk Council leader, Nick Daubney said: “Engaging parents in their children’s education can make a real difference, not only in terms of attendance at school but also in terms of each child’s achievements.
“The parents at St Edmund’s School have really embraced this approach and I am looking forward to seeing the results of this latest project.”