SCHOOLBOYS invited the Essex Wildlife Trust in to see their progress creating a Forest School.

The boys at Langham Oaks in Colchester, a school for children with social, emotional and mental health needs , have been learning outdoors for the past few years.

They have just revamped part of the woodland area and invited the Essex Wildlife Trust down for an official opening.

Graham Cove, Key Stage 2 teacher at the school, said: "The younger boys take an outdoor bushcraft approach.

"The rationale is these boys have not been in school for ages, they haven't been with other boys.

"We have 17 acres of land here so we are lucky, the curriculum for the younger boys revolves around the outdoors."

The boys are given tools such as knives to chop wood, make fires, climb trees and take part in other activities which require responsibility.

Mr Cove said: "It builds self-confidence and self-esteem. It teaches them resilience as some of them will tend to want to give up.

"The gang all looks after each other and the adults are just there in the background to empower them.

"We don't let them off the hook, and it works really well."

He said data has shown those boys who have gone through the outdoor learning programme have achieved much better in their studies and exams.

Essex Wildlife Trust has provided the teachers with the training they need to run Forest Schools.

They were invited into the school to see how well the boys had done.

Mr Cove said: "We had a bit of a refit, the boys had painted benches and made a fire pit.

"It was good for the boys to acknowledge their hard work."