Youngsters at a Southampton school have been honoured for their work in being a ‘Hedgehog Champion’.

Bevois Town Primary School received the award from Southampton National Park City as its pupils work to protect the endangered species.

Through its forest school scheme children can spend time outside and grow more comfortable with the outdoors instead of being stuck looking at a screen.

Together the children have made shelters and even a hedgehog hotel - which the pupils hope is currently occupied by a hibernating hedgehog.

Speaking to the Echo, Hannah Boussot - forest school leader - said: “Everyone knows being outside is good for our mental and physical wellbeing and here at forest school, we champion that.

“Children playing with mud, wonderful things happen to their immune system.

“Forest school is all about holistic development, they learn hedgehogs like to eat beetles but the other thing they are learning all the time is communication skills, social skills, resilience and self-esteem.

“All of those wonderful things that you can’t learn in the classroom.”

She added: “Our children are the future guardians of our world so we need to get them to enjoy being out in nature so that they can care of it now and learn to take care of it in the future.”

She said that children were first scared of playing in the mud but since joining forest school they now feel comfortable.

She added: “Some children have found it really challenging, particularly those children who don’t have a garden and have never really had the chance to play in nature among the mud.

“Before they used to be scared and now they come to  me in a session and their hands are covered in mud, and they’re making mud cakes.”

Councillor Eamonn Keogh Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport said: “I have been so insured by seeing young people just getting involved within their school, were here because they created a habitat for hedgehogs who we know are under threat as a species and they’re doing their best to protect them and learn more about them.”