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Corrie star Julie Hesmondhalgh returns to roots to launch new Forest school

The actress cut the ribbon at her old school Hyndburn Park Primary

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Julie Hesmondhalgh officially cuts the ribbon to launch the Hyndburn Park Primary School’s new Forest School

Former Coronation Street star Julie Hesmondhalgh returned to her roots to officially launch a new Forest School.

The actress was the special guest at Hyndburn Park Primary School in Accrington where she studied as a youngster while living in Church.

Julie was joined by school pupils, staff, governors and Hyndburn Mayoress Noreen Ayub for the ceremony.

A special Forest School area has been created at the school to help promote outdoor learning.

A former wasteland area off Hyndburn Road has been transformed over the last 12 months and includes a teaching area under a tent for pupils to enjoy classes outside.

Julie, who grew up on Elmfield Street in Church, was invited to cut the ribbon at the opening ceremony on Monday, September 10.

She told the Observer: “I’m really proud to come from Hyndburn Park. The school has changed in some ways and in other ways not at all. Where it has changed it’s changed for the better.

"The school is much more accessible and brighter and it’s lovely to see this area, which we used to call the old rec, transformed.

Hyndburn Park Primary School’s new Forest School

Hyndburn Park Primary School’s new Forest School

“I think it will be really good for the children’s wellbeing. It will get them outside and make them get their hands dirty.

“An industrial town like Accrington is surrounded by countryside and this is bringing a little bit of it into the school.”

Headteacher Wendy Tracey said the Forest School idea was first proposed by staff nearly seven years ago and is delighted to finally see it open to pupils.

She said: “There were some shared land issues to resolve and we also applied for a couple of funding grants but were unsuccessful. Fortunately we were in a position that we had finances in reserve and the governors were really supportive and gave us approval.

Hyndburn Park Primary School’s new Forest School

“Most of our children don’t play out in the wild. They play on terraced streets. It will be good to get them in touch with nature and science.

“We have created it to be an outdoor classroom so they can also do learning outside which for some children is more accessible. We can do big classes, smaller groups and one-to-one. It will also be great for storytelling.”

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She added: “It’s great to have Julie here. She has been back to the school several times and it’s great to keep that link.”