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Anger at plans for Angus outdoor nursery, complete with fire pit, during building refurb

Letham Primary School in Angus. Dougie Nicolson / DCT Media.
Letham Primary School in Angus. Dougie Nicolson / DCT Media.

Pre-school children in a Tayside nursery will have to attend sessions outdoors for around five months while builders refashion their building.

Families in the Angus village of Letham are shocked youngsters are being asked to stay outside for the duration of a building project between mid-March and mid-August this year.

Letham Primary School and its attached nursery is being refashioned as part of a Scotland-wide expansion in early years’ classes.

One relative of a pupil at the nursery, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “This is ludicrous.”

“I’ve never heard of anything like it before. Wind, rain, snow… all the elements and these kids have to have nursery outside.

“They’ve been told to wear three layers and they will be given a rain coat. The school has said they will build them a firepit, but that just doesn’t cut it.”

She said she was worried about safeguarding the children given they will be left “out the front in all weather for everyone to see.”

“I’m really annoyed about this. The parents don’t seem to want to speak out and are just taking it, but I don’t know how anyone could be happy about this,” she added.

Outdoor education is becoming increasingly popular in many schools and nurseries across Scotland with some outdoor-only nurseries heavily subscribed and the learning method well-regarded by experts.

Parents of young people at those nurseries, however, have made a decision to education their child in this way.

An Angus Council spokeswoman said a full decant of the nursery had been advised in order for building works to commence.

She added: “We have been considering options for the nursery class.

“We have therefore decided to use the decant requirement as an opportunity to further invest in the early learning and childcare provision in Letham and launch an outdoor nursery within the grounds of the school.”

Planning is well under way, she added.

She said: “Our central early years team is supporting the school to put in place all of the necessary resources in collaboration with the Care Inspectorate and Thrive Outdoors, including shelters, heating, warm clothing and various other outdoor resources.”

She added there were “well-known benefits” of early learning and childcare classes being held outdoors, including improved health and well-being.

Parents met with staff at the end of the January to discuss the plan, she added.

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