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Fury as vandals wreck Swaffham school's outdoor learning area




A school community has been left devastated after vandals targeted their outdoor learning area twice over the Easter break.

Staff at the Swaffham Infant and Nursery School are now planning new fundraising activities to fix the latest damage, which is also the subject of a police investigation.

But they say teaching activities in their Forest School area on the school grounds have been hampered over the last few days while the damage is cleared up.

Teaching assistant Cara Butters, who leads the programme, said pupils had been helping with the clean-up as part of their lesson programme.

She said: “It’s heartbreaking for the whole school community. The children are aware of what’s happened and have been asking questions. Their whole learning has been disrupted.”

A fundraising effort involving staff, parents, businesses and the school’s Friends group raised the cash necessary to develop the complex, which has been operating since last September.

The scheme is designed to help children connect with nature and develop a range of practical skills, thereby increasing their confidence.

Mrs Butters said the site had already been targeted by vandals once, shortly after it opened, before the latest incidents earlier this month.

In the first, which happened between April 5 when the school shut for the holidays and April 13, a tree was forced down and several chairs on an outdoor play bus were smashed.

Damage done during incidents of vandalism at the Swaffham Infant and Nursery School (9214756)
Damage done during incidents of vandalism at the Swaffham Infant and Nursery School (9214756)

Further damage was discovered last Tuesday, when pupils and staff returned after the Easter break.

In that case, a swing was pulled down, a willow tunnel ripped up, a fence damaged and alcohol cans left on the floor.

Damage done during incidents of vandalism at the Swaffham Infant and Nursery School (9214758)
Damage done during incidents of vandalism at the Swaffham Infant and Nursery School (9214758)

Mrs Butters described their actions as “mindless” and said she struggled to understand what satisfaction those responsible for the damage would get out of it.

She also appealed for companies who may be able to supply equipment to help fix the damage to contact the school.

Norfolk Police confirmed officers had been called to the school at around 10.50am last Tuesday following the latest incident.

Investigations are ongoing. Anyone with information about the damage is asked to contact police on 101.



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