At Ness seashore in Shaldon, Devon, a category of pupils from the native main college are constructing shelters.
“I am fairly positive,” says eight-year-old Adam, tapping a tarpaulin roof together with his spade, “that if we received stranded on an island in a single day, we would not have an issue surviving – though I believe I would like an axe.”
His face is peppered with sand and the dank, snivelling sky has left his sweatshirt decidedly damp and clammy.
“That is simply the perfect day ever,” he yells as he wheels spherical and dashes off to take a look at the razor clam shells that his classmate Mabel has simply put within the bucket.
Welcome to Seaside Faculty on Ness seashore close to Teignmouth with Shaldon Main’s Yr four.
You will not discover any desks, blackboards or iPads right here, however you will see a category of engaged, animated and (albeit reasonably soiled), prepared learners.
For the previous 5 years, Seaside Faculties South West has been travelling throughout Devon to allow youngsters of all backgrounds to expertise outside studying.
The concept relies on that of the well-established Forest Faculties, the place youngsters frequently go to woods and pure areas to be taught social, technical and team-building abilities and to assist increase their self-confidence and sense of well-being.
“Seaside Faculties South West sadly is not a every day college,” explains founder and director Tess Stuber.
“However we’re a cell seashore college so we will go take our programme to any seashore.
“Our ethos is about youngsters main themselves and never being taught or given direct instruction – they usually be taught with out realising it.”
Harry and Will are crouched on the sand pondering one of the simplest ways to attach their den to a freshwater provide.
On the different finish of the seashore, the women have made a washing line to hold up their jackets to dry.
They provide me a seashell stuffed with “survival sushi” they’ve created from seaweed.
One other youngster and her buddy are debating whether or not to construct an extension.
“I really feel like I am in Swallows and Amazons!” cries Najeen, as Ali Murray, the Seaside Faculties staff chief, comes to examine the shelter they’ve constructed.
“You’ll be able to educate any topic on the seashore,” says Ms Murray, as the youngsters watch her gentle a hearth.
“We’re studying immediately about sea security, about air pollution in our oceans, about constructing shelters, the setting.
“We converse to classroom academics about what the youngsters are studying at school and we simply adapt. The seashore is a really versatile place to take the curriculum.”
She counts out marshmallows to toast and asks the youngsters to work out what number of packets she might want to open if there are 17 marshmallows in every packet.
Everybody begins counting.
Yr 4’s class trainer, Susie Cairns, grins.
“The seashore simply brings studying alive,” she says.
“We have been doing heaps within the classroom about plastic air pollution however on the seashore they’ll truly see the issue for themselves and the injury it is doing.”
We’re interrupted by Ben, who races over to point out us the plastic bottle and bag he is simply discovered on his litter run.
He is extraordinarily apprehensive concerning the hurt it would do if ingested by sea animals.
“It is surprising,” he tells us. “It is occurring everywhere in the world.”
Ms Cairns says the youngsters may also be making poems primarily based on their seashore finds, and after their full-on sensory expertise, she’s going to introduce them to the ideas of metaphors and onomatopoeia.
Seaside Faculties South West is a neighborhood curiosity firm and will get its funding from charitable trusts and foundations, the lottery and thru partnerships with native companies corresponding to South West Water.
Lots of the colleges that Seaside Faculties South West go to are in underprivileged areas.
“We work in and round Plymouth quite a bit,” explains Ms Stuber.
“Plymouth is Britain’s so-called Ocean Metropolis, but we’re staggered by the quantity of main college youngsters, typically 80%, who’ve by no means been to the seashore, stood on the sand, heard the ocean or touched it
“It is so vital to supply these youngsters outside studying experiences.”
“Who desires to see my prickly clam?” shouts Ms Murray and the youngsters instantly crowd round her.
Of their haste to see the exhibit, one boy bangs into one other and he stops to apologise.
“I am seeing and listening to issues I do not see within the classroom,” says their trainer.
“The conversations, the issue fixing, friendships and kids actually working in groups.”
Ms Murray now runs at the least 50 seashore college periods a 12 months.
She admits the reception courses might be tiring, however she’s by no means but had an issue with self-discipline on the seashore, even with youngsters who’re identified to have behavioural issues.
“The toasted marshmallows assist in fact,” she laughs as she palms me a pink one.
After 4 hours below the drizzle, and a spirited rendition of the varsity music, it is time to return to the classroom.
On the trudge again by way of close by Smugglers Tunnel I ask a small lady who has a gap in her wellington boots and whose anorak pockets are splitting with seashells, how she’s feeling.
“Ecstatic!” she exclaims.
Hear Emma Jane Kirby’s report dwell on Radio four’s World at One and afterwards on iPlayer Radio.