SCHOOLCHILDREN can now enjoy lessons in a secret hideaway after parents raised thousands of pounds.

Pupils at Westdene Primary School at Bankside in Brighton got their first sneak preview of the hideout house on Friday.

And for the official opening Green Party Brighton Pavilion MP Caroline Lucas attended and was given a tour around the forest school.

The £23,000 hideout house was donated by Friends of Westdene, who hosted events such as quizzes, film nights, and wine and cheese nights to provide the funds for the project.

Committee member and school governor Katy Majumdar said: “It was a really big effort from parents and the community, everyone has done amazingly well.

“We are a real community school, everyone gets involved with the fairs, summer parties and other events.

“It will be an alternative space for the children to learn in and experience the outdoors, which is very different to a standard class room.”

Now the friends group are looking to find their next big project to fund at the school.

School head teacher Debbie Crossingham said the hideout house will allow teachers to use the school grounds to inspire learning across various subjects on the curriculum.

Mrs Crossingham said: “It is part of our forest school approach, children learn a lot from being outside. This space will captivate their imaginations.”

Other projects at the school include allotment space for different year groups to grow their own crops, with Year 6 pupils growing potatoes.

School governor Philip McDonald is a garden designer by trade, and has helped the children to grow a range of different foods, which are then cooked in the school kitchen.

Caroline Lucas arrived at the school via bus, and praised the efforts of the whole community.

She said: “I just think this is a testament to so much hard work by parents which they can celebrate together.

“When the children went in for the first time their faces immediately lit up. It is a very practical and creative way of addressing the problem of space in the school.

“I would rather like one myself.”