A primary school in Dunblane has built a new outdoor classroom in memory of a beloved former headteacher.

Newton Primary embarked on the special project following the sad loss of Jane McManus in 2019

Jane was headteacher at the school for seven years between 2012 and 2019 and was well known in the local community.

Following discussions with pupils, staff, families, and in consultation with Jane’s family, a new outdoor classroom and learning space was identified as a fitting way to remember her.

Pupils, families and staff at the school and the local community rallied to the cause and raised not only enough money to install the new facility but also to improve the school’s grounds and outdoor equipment.

Children at the school decided to name the classroom ‘Blossom House’ as Jane loved the spring blossom and the cherry blossom tree represents a short but vibrant life.

A huge thank you

Headteacher at the school Linda Kane said: We would like to say a huge thank you again to everyone who so kindly donated to our project and supported us in making it happen. It is a fantastic facility which will provide benefits both to the school and local community now, and for many years to come.

“Importantly, we hope it is a fitting memorial for Mrs McManus who was such a passionate supporter of outdoor learning.” 

Prior to becoming Headteacher at Newton Primary, Jane was headteacher at Doune Primary School for 17 years.

A fitting and lasting tribute

Convener of Stirling Council’s Children and Young People Committee, Cllr Susan McGill said: “The new outdoor classroom at Newton Primary is a fitting and lasting tribute to a much-loved and inspirational headteacher who served communities across Stirling with such distinction.

“A huge well done to everyone involved in the school community for all your hard work in making Blossom House a reality. This is a lovely dedication to Jane.”

The new facility can accommodate a full class of children and is wind and waterproof. Detachable panels can be attached on wet or windy days to provide more shelter and enable the building to be used all year round. 

Before the end of the summer term, pupils had already started using the classroom, while other groups, including the local Guide companies, have expressed an interest in using it.

Wonderful teaching legacy

Vice Convener, Christine Simpson said: “The new outdoor classroom celebrates Jane McManus’ wonderful teaching legacy and will provide a wide range of learning, health and well-being benefits for pupils.

“As someone that forged such strong links with the local community and who was dedicated to helping others, I’m sure Jane would also have been delighted that local people and groups will be able to use Blossom House as well.”

Picture details:

Picture shows pupils at Newton PS at the new outdoor classroom