North Devon MP Selaine Saxby visits Pilton Infants' School - Credit: Submitted

Barnstaple children lobby MP over garden under threat

Joseph Bulmer

This week, children from Pilton Infants' School lobbied local MP Selaine Saxby about their school garden which was under threat from a house building proposal.

Following a topic about Marina Silva, a Brazilian campaigner against the destruction of the rainforest, teachers shared news with the children of the proposed build on the school site.

The Year 2 children sprang into action in a bid to save their garden. They carried out research on local wildlife and discussed the impact of building houses on the school site.

They talked about a range of issues from losing precious trees to the disruption that the building noise would have on learning.

Finally, they created banners, signs and chants in preparation for a visit from their MP.

Selaine Saxby visited the school on Friday morning, where she was met by the children protesting to save their garden.

She was then shown around the garden by a group of students who explained their concerns.

The children suggested alternative sites in Barnstaple where housing would be built and Selaine explained about current plans for housing and the bat colony in the old Shaplands site.

After this, there was a nervous wait from the children as Ms Saxby considered their arguments.

North Devon MP Selaine Saxby visits Pilton Infants' School - Credit: Submitted
North Devon MP Selaine Saxby visits Pilton Infants' School - Credit: Submitted

Finally, a decision was made and the children cheered as the MP announced that the building work wouldn't go ahead.

Mr Mortimer, Acting Head Teacher at the school said: "Our Year 2s are a great example of showing consideration for the world around them and standing up for their beliefs in a peaceful way.

“They have learned from Marina Silva who has campaigned courageously to save vast areas of the Brazilian rainforest.

“Year 2 have campaigned peacefully to Selaine Saxby, MP, to get the decision to build houses on our secret garden overturned.

“They explained their reasons clearly and even offered alternative ideas for where houses could be built.”

Year 2 teacher, Mrs Ruddick, said: "We are really proud of our Year 2 children. They are like the school's learning heroes, Carrie Caring and Billy Bright Ideas.

Ms Saxby said about the visit: “It was wonderful to visit Pilton Infants school and meet with the very engaged and passionate students concerned about their environment and housing.

“The school has a fantastic team around the children and in teaching them about community involvement and how they can work together to achieve their aims, goes above and beyond their normal curriculum.”

Following the visit, the relieved Year 2 children enjoyed their playtime in the garden.