Staff at an Ipswich special school have been praised after raising more than £3,700 to improve an open air learning space for pupils.

The Bridge School in Sprites Lane has undergone extensive improvements to its outdoor space – a year after opening a brand new secondary school building.

It has now been capped by a new outdoor classroom which was funded by staff giving up their weekend to take part in this year’s Orwell sponsored walking Challenge.

The installation was officially opened by Ipswich mayor, Elizabeth Hughes, on Friday. She met staff on the walk and was impressed by their commitment and drive to make things ‘perfect’ for their pupils. 

Hazel Simmons, headteacher at The Bridge School, said: “Our amazing staff always go above and beyond for our pupils and I cannot praise them enough for what they have achieved here.

“Learning outdoors and physical exercise are invaluable to improving the engagement and learning, wellbeing and health of pupils with severe learning difficulties.

“We are very proud of our new building, which is one of the best in the UK and the fabulous outdoor facilities that have been so badly needed for a long time – they really contributed to the progress pupils can make and to the happiness in the school.

“We are so grateful to everyone who donated so generously to this fundraising campaign and for Mayor Elizabeth Hughes for cutting the ribbon.”

The outdoor wooden classroom will give pupils access to a calming learning space while money raised has also funded cycling equipment for all abilities as well as an outdoor Reading Room for our Forest School area.

Mayor Elizabeth Hughes said: “It was a great honour for me to officially open the outdoor classroom.

“The school, and the efforts of its staff, have ensured a wonderful facility has been offered to the students and to our whole community.

“My mayoral year is all about joy, hope and happiness and this project is a great example of this.”