A NURSERY school’s outdoor learning area is now ship-shape thanks to the efforts of industrious students.

Level 2 carpentry and joinery students from Darlington College repaired and refurbished the play area at Rooftops Nursery, Harmire Enterprise Park, Barnard Castle, as part of a project designed to help the community.

The students restored a sailing boat, replaced trellising, mended fencing and painted decking as part of their City & Guilds course.

Rooftops, a 70-place nursery for children aged from newborn up to 11, is open from 7.30am to 6pm, Monday to Friday. to help working parents and also offers the flexible 30 hours childcare scheme for three to four-year-olds.

There are also funded 15-hour placements for two, three to four-year-olds.

Aspects of the Montessori ethos, which Richmond Rooftops uses to develop children’s independence through play, will be boosted by the work to improve the outdoor area to provide forest school and nature activities.

The new owner Hannah Hurley was delighted with the students’ work.

She said: “Investing in our outdoor areas enhances children’s life skills and independence.

“We are launching our Forest School on July 29.

“Having the apprentices has been invaluable to contributing to the improvements outside.”

Darlington College tutor Andrew Wears said the college found students suitable community projects to give them a taste of the world of work.

“They have done a good job and it has been excellent experience for them working with a real client,” he said.

Student Thomas Norton, 18, of Richmond, said: “I spent three days there cleaning up the existing woodwork and replacing what couldn’t be repaired.

“The boat play house needed refurbishing and I was pleased with how it all looked in the end.”

Darlington College itself also offers childcare services in its purpose-built Childcare Centre for children aged six weeks to school age.

Free places are available for three and four-year-olds.

In January, Ofsted inspectors rated the Childcare Centre as ‘Outstanding’.

  • For more information regarding the Childcare Centre, call 01325-503144 or email childcare@darlington.ac.uk
  • Alternatively, for more information on opportunities and courses available at Darlington College, visit darlington.ac.uk