Case study
28 Nov 2023

Connecting to nature at St Philip's Primary School, Greater Manchester

Laura Jacklin
Students holding nature drawings
Connecting to nature on the school site through bark rubbings and drawing leaf shapes

St Philip’s C of E Primary School is a two-form entry school with over 400 pupils in Atherton, just outside of Wigan in Greater Manchester. Pupils have been busy getting stuck into Nature Park activities and planning how they will transform their school grounds for nature. 

Like many schools in England, St Philip’s has a concrete playground. Starting with the Hidden Nature Challenge, pupils found that nature is actually present in these areas, from grasses growing out of cracks in the ground to ladybirds living in walls.

Taking part in some of the Exploring your school site activities helped pupils decide that they wanted to increase nature in this concrete space and the Start planning for nature activities enabled them to develop creative solutions. After considering what would be most beneficial for their school site, they decided on creating a green wall.

"We wanted to make a green wall because we noticed that the current wall didn’t have much nature. We wanted to make it more bright and colourful and create a great space for bugs. One of the plants we chose is lamb's ears because it helps to minimise air pollution in our school. All of the little hairs on it catch the carbon from the cars passing by."

Year 6 pupil

Pupils have carefully selected the plants they want for their green wall and created detailed designs, including recycling milk bottles to form the planters. In spring, the pupils will plant up the green wall and we look forward to seeing how it looks! 

Finding hidden nature
By following prompts from the Hidden Nature Challenge, pupils revealed nature in unexpected places!

The brilliant work at St Philip’s is driven by Tina Farrow, the school’s Outdoor Lead. Tina hopes that the Nature Park will help her pupils to understand what biodiversity is, why we need it, why it is important to them and how to look after our world and carry this forward in their lives.  

"The Nature Park programme for me has been enlightening. I came to it thinking I knew a lot and found that actually there was a lot more I could learn. The Nature Park has given me that information and has empowered me to do even more and resource my lessons in ways that I hadn’t thought of previously. I’m excited for what I’m going to be able to do going forward. The resources in the Nature Park programme are spot on, especially for the range of ages of the pupils I work with."

Tina Farrow, Outdoor Lead at St Philip's C of E Primary School

Pupil designs for a green wall on a noticeboard
Pupils have come up with detailed designs for their green wall, which they will plant in the spring


"I definitely look at nature differently now, thanks to taking part in the National Education Nature Park. My heart is telling me to learn more because I found it really interesting. I want more time to explore my school grounds. It helps me to learn about our planet and ecosystem."

Year 5 pupil

Inspired to start your Nature Park journey? Register to join now and help boost biodiversity on your learning site.