Beulah Primary School, South London

The Hideout House Company in partnership with Electric Pedals have created a unique and fun way for schools to promote outdoor eco learning.

A year and a half ago the Hideout House Company was approached by the head teacher of Beulah Primary School in South London with an interesting and challenging brief – after many discussions with their school council, they wanted to have an outdoor classroom in their school playground but not just any old outdoor classroom. The school wanted to be able to use this facility to promote eco awareness and sustainable thinking, they wanted to be able to have features in the building which they could tie into the curriculum (especially science), they wanted to hold dance and music sessions out there and last but not least, if it could encourage physical play, then all the better!

Partnering with Electric Pedals, the Hideout House Company finally installed the answer to their brief at the end of last year – this being a pedal powered outdoor classroom.

The outdoor classroom is a 5m octagonal building which is enclosed by solid infill wall panels on six sides and two roll-up-down canvas panels on the others. One of these side panels has an opening hatch for the “DJ” to stand behind the “mixing desk” and look out directly onto the playground dance area. Powered by two permanently fixed ‘X-Bikes’ with in-built dynamos, the classroom allows the children to generate their own power which is used to power a small PA system (with speakers which are fitted into both the walls and mixing desk), strip LED lighting and a disco ball which is mounted to the underside of the roof. As they pedal, the children can see in real-time exactly how many watts are being generated by way of a watt-o-meter monitoring dial and using the wall-mounted information boards, compare this to the consumption of everyday household appliances. The pupils at the school can therefore now appreciate how much energy is required just to switch on a kettle for example.

Just to make it a bit more interesting and to keep the children incentivised to pedal, a bubble-machine has also been supplied which creates hundreds of bubbles once the children start pedalling.

The project has immediately been a great success and the school’s headteacher Vivien Luniak summed it up really well with the following statement: “We are absolutely delighted with our new outdoor classroom and the electric pedal equipment. It allows us to teach the children in a creative manner about renewable energy and we can incorporate some of the items into our science lessons. Plus we are getting the children to undertake physical activity by all the pedalling required to create the energy!”

For more information, please contact Simon Fearnehough on 01865 858982/07711 542589 or

e-mail: simon@hideouthouse.com

Web address: www.hideouthouse.com