Students breathe new life into Stamshaw Junior School pond

A SCHOOL pond has been brought back to life thanks to the efforts of four students and a local business.

Monday, 9th December 2019, 2:14 pm
Updated Friday, 13th December 2019, 5:01 pm

The pond at Stamshaw Junior School had become so overgrown that head teacher, Rob Jones, had not even realised it existed. Thanks to the help of four teaching students the pond and surrounding access areas have now been cleared. The project is part of a community initiative by the University of Chichester who oversees the school as part of its trust.

Year 4 pupil, Grace Hedges, nine, said: ‘They have already made a big difference with the pond and as it was just covered in weeds.’

Year 5 pupil, Logan Hayman, added: ‘Before work started you couldn’t even see the water and it was quite smelly.’

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Trainee teachers from the University of Chichester, Lauren Carter, Rebecca Tuck, Emily Sotheran and Maddie Macey in the Pond at Stamshaw Junior School. Picture: Habibur Rahman.

With the pond cleared, the students plan to develop the area into an outdoor learning resource. Many of the ideas and plans have been devised by pupils at the school.’

Student, Rebecca Tuck, 24, said: ‘We are going to create a flower meadow to attract more bees as well as a bug hotel.’

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The school has also enlisted the help of Portsmouth construction company, Mountjoy, to fit new decking and a perimeter fence.

Stuart Jauncy from Mountjoy, trainee teachers from the University of Chichester with Year 4 and Year 5 pupils, (left to right) Ethan Aigbonga, 9, Grace Hayes, 9, Lois Cornell, 9 and Logan Haymon, 9 near the pond at Stamshaw Junior school. Picture: Habibur Rahman.

Business development manager, Stuart Jauncey, said: ‘We were happy to get involved as part of our corporate social responsibility programme. We will provide all the materials and a day of labour for no cost. It’s important to make a difference in the community and this will provide a fantastic opportunity for the children to study outside of the classroom.’

After being approached by the students, Rob’s only remit was that ‘it didn’t cost the school any money’.

Rob, who took up the headship in September, said: ‘The pond has been in state of disrepair for four years – a whole generation of children have not been able to use what is a fantastic resource. School budgets are tight and sorting out the pond was unfortunately low on our priorities. The students have done a fantastic job.’

Once new decking has been fitted the school plan to get the children involved in studying the ecosystem through pond dipping and wildlife spotting.

The overgrown pond before the students got to work.

Student Emily Southern said: ‘We want the children to become pond monitors and learn about the wildlife ecosystem. We want to create a legacy of learning which will remain after we have gone.’

Pupil, Lois Cornell, nine, added: ‘I’m excited about being able to get into the pond to explore.’

Anyone who would like to make a donation to support the project can do so by going to http://www.gofundme.com/f/help-us-build-a-community-pond-in-a-local-school

The school pond now it has been cleared. Picture: Habibur Rahman.