20th April 2001 at 01:00
(Photograph) - A week in the life of Butler's Court combined school, Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire.

Trips away from home are an aspect of a child's education that Butler's Court sets great store by, says deputy head Paul Sutton. So, during one chilly week in January, 30 Year 4 children decamped to Shortenills Environmental Studies Centre, an 11-acre site in nearby Chalfont St Giles. For many of them, it was the first experience of being away from home.

The centre's varied habitats gave children the chance to find out about Britain's wildlife, investigate food chains and learn some basic survival skills such as map-reading and how to build a shelter out of natural materials.

But being away from home, and having to rely on their own resources, gave the children other valuable life skills of a mre domestic nature. So, while they may have enjoyed finding out about how to survive getting lost in the woods, mums and dads might be more pleased to know that they learned how to make their own lunches and beds, with changing the duvet cover providing one of the week's biggest challenges.

Snaps by Paul Sutton

Stick up: building a shelter in the woods

Prickly subject: sketching an example of British fauna

Emily with Maurice the hog-nosed snake

Making their own lunch was a new experience for many

Inside the Iron Age house on a day trip to Chiltern Open Air Museum

Munch line monitors Michael and Chris explore food chains

No, it's this way. Bryoney and Sarah practise their map-reading skills

The boys try their hand at catching snowflakes on the final day

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