Courteenhall shortlisted for Education award

17th Apr 2024

Courteenhall Estate has been shortlisted for a prestigious award for our innovative educational work.

Each year, the Historic Houses Learning Advisory Panel presents the Frances Garnham Award to a house or garden that has demonstrated a particularly innovative approach to education or community engagement work.

The Award is now in its sixth year and commemorates the life and achievements of Frances Garnham, who worked as Director of Policy and Campaigns at Historic Houses.

Last year, the award was won by Wentworth Woodhouse in South Yorkshire.

Dr Johnny Wake said: “We’re delighted to have been shortlisted for this prestigious award as it recognises the innovative work we do to support young people locally.

“As well as hosting visits from local schools, the Country Trust, Open Farm Sunday and Northamptonshire Sport, we work very closely with local SENCO Alex Preston of New Leaf Learning who developed a scheme to support primary school children across the county who are struggling to engage in education.

“Piloted with research-based trials over two years at Courteenhall, the charity New Leaf Learning uses nature-based outdoor learning techniques to help students with anxiety and trauma to become more confident and gives them safe spaces to thrive.

“Each small group that comes to Courteenhall takes part in a wide range of activities including art in the Arboretum, talks from members of the Courteenhall team about regenerative and sustainable farming and they learn about the Countryside Code in relation to our livestock.

“The children also take part in slackline, den-building, whittling, gardening, cooking, animal welfare and pond-dipping.

“Every session includes learning self-regulation techniques through breathing properly, yoga and meditation with accredited trainers. The children are immersed in nature, learning new self-nurture skills, as well as helping to look after plants and animals.

“Uniquely, the charity also requires that parents, teachers and support staff engage in training themselves.

“Our data shows they have all reported significant improvements in their ability to understand, support and address the needs of vulnerable children. Schools have reported excellent results in the classroom and every school has re-booked. We have a long waiting list, despite requiring schools to part-fund.

“We’d like to grow the service, to reach and help more children, and we’re looking for businesses who would like to get involved and support the programme.”

The winner of the Frances Garnham Award will be announced later in the year.

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