Why did you decide to undertake this project (i.e. Particular issue in school or part of a larger campaign) and what aims did you have starting out?
We wanted to promote Healthy Eating in line with our PSHE curriculum but we also identified a very practical way to show how to limit food miles used for provisions of local food. We also have an excellent link with our local allotment and this helped with the practical aspects of launching our project.
How was the project delivered and was it integrated into the curriculum?
We used our PSHE curriculum and a focus of Learning Outside the classroom, in all year groups. We built on the excellent practice of previous years and remodelled our curriculum to accommodate any opportunities for integrating growing eg using Science focus aligned with PSHE.
Did you have to overcome any challenges to make the project succeed?
Our classrooms did not have any suitable available beds for growing, we had our grounds redeveloped to provide beds close to classrooms. This was expensive but now all classes can easily access their beds and children can easily see the fruits of their labour and monitor any problems.
How did you get the children involved? How did they have ownership?
Our Pupil Council meet regularly and are very good at getting the opinions of the children. We already have a list of the plants they would like to grow in the forthcoming season, when the snow stops. We listen carefully to their ideas. Their target in the school School Improvement Plan is to encourage their adults to eat healthily.
How have the children benefitted from the project and any other benefits for the school (reduced costs, cleaner school etc)? Please include any figures and analysis if appropriate.
We have provided vegetables for school dinners, Year 2 produced very good potatoes and plan to grow more next year. We have also sold extra vegetables to adults. The school grounds now look more vibrant when plants are in full bloom. It has helped restore life to the tired corners that may have been ignored before.
Did you use any educational resources such as The Pod, receive any support from parents, staff and outside agencies? Did you have to source funding for the project?
Luckily we have had money in the school budget for the remodelling. We have had seeds from The Kitchen Garden project and other free offers such as free seed potatoes. We also used the expertise of our chair of Governors who is a keen gardener and parents who came in to help work with classes.
What advice would you give to schools that want to follow in your footsteps?
Set realistic targets which can be achieved with all staff and members of the school community working together. Any project we attempt is a joint one, because if one member of staff leads it, if they change job, it can so easily fizzle out. Get the children involved at every step, they can be the harshest critics but the most fantastic resource you have available.
Our children have really got the message and want to improve their understanding to make the world a better place. We have worked hard to improve their understanding that they will be the citizens of tomorrow and can help shape decisions of today.
Has this project driven other Eco-Schools ideas and what is the school working on next?
We have taken part in many different Eco- projects. We recently took part in ‘Shoe Aid for Africa’ which was really successful. Our weekly projects are:
Trot on Tuesday –Year 2
Waste Free Wednesday- Year 1
Tidy Up Thursday- Reception
Fresh On Friday- Year 2
Our whole school project is Aquabox , where we will be sending a water filtration system to an area of the world requiring fresh water and humanitarian aid. This has just recently been launched.
We also fund the schooling of a child in India through the charity Action Aid.