Magic, wonder and adventure at Newton Poppleford school

A Newton Poppleford pupil enjoying the adventure garden. Picture: Newton Poppleford Primary School

A Newton Poppleford pupil enjoying the adventure garden. Picture: Newton Poppleford Primary School - Credit: Newton Poppleford Primary School

A local school has found a wonderful way to inspire and fuel the imaginations of its young pupils. Adventure Island was launched at Newton Poppleford Primary School in September and has proven a big hit with all the children of the school from pre-school to year six.

The idea for Adventure Island came from educational thinker and author, Greg Bottrill, with whom the staff underwent training.

“The idea is to sprinkle a little bit of magic over the school day and take children on an adventure into the world of make-believe,” said teacher, Nicola Dowsing.

“Each class explores play opportunities with their class teacher and teaching assistants but can also draw upon skills they have learnt in class as they journey through Adventure Island. To give an example, to enter Adventure Island, each class has to solve an age-appropriate puzzle to work out a secret passcode which changes regularly.

“The beauty is, absolutely any character can spring up in Adventure Island which gives us endless opportunities to explore and can literally bring stories to life.”

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There are other advantages too.

“It also encourages children to value the natural environment and to pay closer attention,” Nicola added.

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“It has also created a real sense of community as we have shared characters that all children, staff and parents know about and can have fun with together.

“This has been especially important with Covid-19 restrictions in place. Currently, children can’t spend time with pupils from different classes so Year 6 children have connected with their reception buddies by hiding poems for them to discover.”

Ultimately, Adventure Island has proven both successful and popular and should continue long into the future.

“It’s been an exciting time for Newton Poppleford Primary School and we feel very lucky to have had the opportunity to work with Greg Bottrill,” Nicola said.

“We are working towards giving all children more play opportunities on a daily basis and Adventure Island has been a wonderful way to help us achieve this.”

Anyone wishing to find out more can contact Newton Poppleford Primary School on 01395 568300, by email on or look at their website

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