A TEACHER from West Somerset has won a national award and a grant of £9,100 after submitting an idea to enhance the learning of his pupils.

Josh Wedderkopp, who teaches at Crowcombe and Stogumber Primary Schools, was awarded the grant after being selected as one of the winners for the ‘Let Teachers SHINE competition’.

The competition, run by SHINE, an education charity, is designed to uncover the best ideas to raise the achievement of children in England.

The schools earned their winning place after submitting the idea of using GPS technology to attach stories written by pupils to the countryside around them.

Josh said: “I wanted to encourage our pupils and their families to get involved in the community around them while enhancing their reading, writing and storytelling skills.

“We’re going to spend time on the hills with a storyteller and park rangers, learning all about the hills and learning the skills to stimulate the children to write their own tales and poems.”

Local storyteller Chris Jelly, who has set up the storywalk along the Coleridge Way, inspired Josh to apply for the funding after running a workshop with the pupils.

Josh added: “I wasn’t really expecting to hear anything back but it’s amazing.

“I think learning outside is so important because you’re not just learning about things but you’re learning with them.

“You can actually see and smell and touch a tree, you get a better idea.

“Everyone with a smartphone or tablet will have access to the story as when the children have written their own, they will be linked via GPS technology to the location they are set.

“The beauty of this project is that it can be done anywhere, and I would encourage other schools to do something similar or even have a workshop with Chris.”