We are very lucky to have such a wonderful garden as a learning resource and a school community space! It contains a large poly tunnel, fruit trees, a green house, seven raised beds, crate compost pits, a willow tunnel and even a small pond. We are fortune to have enough space to have a ‘wildlife’ area’ and a ‘vegetable and fruit growing’ area.
Sara Jan was one of the first parents who established the garden’s raised beds and encouraged the school community to take an active part in learning about growing and maintaining the garden.
When Sara and her family left, Rachael Pedder took on the role of lead parent volunteer and was successful in gaining funding for a poly tunnel and funding for a part time school gardener, Mrs Bloom. Rachael established family gardening events and organised beautiful window boxes and tubs to sell at the Summer fair. She also organised an afterschool club for children to learn about gardening and wildlife.
Aisling Pugsley is the current lead volunteer. She has continued the work with successful family gardening days and made apple chutney from our fruit trees, to sell at Christmas, in order to raise funds. She contributed to general maintenance of the garden during the lockdown period. Other members of the current gardening team are Joanne Harris, who has donated paint for the shed, Jill Wharry who organised tea and coffee drop-ins every Friday, after school, Bertha who has offered advice and plants for the garden and Julie Boome who offers much needed support with funding applications. Lots of other families get involved, by attending the half termly Family gardening days, offering time and plants, and sharing the garden with others.
The garden supports many varieties of wildlife such as insects, amphibians, and birdlife. It is a natural way for children to interact and connect with Nature. Our pond often has tadpoles in the Spring. As we are part of the Royal Horticultural Society’s School Gardening programme, no pesticides or any chemical plant food is use on the soil. We make our own Nettle fertilizer and garden waste is composted in our crate composters. This lack of chemical usage also contributes to the wide range of native wildlife in our garden.
We have had several successful grant applications and donations over the years. These include a grant from Awards for All for a polytunnel and a part-time gardener and a donation of trees from the Woodland Trust which were planted around the school grounds by the garden team, led by Rachael Pedder.
The PTA Grants team continue to offer great support to the gardening team in the search for funding opportunities.
Recently we received RHS School Gardening Award Level 1 and this has made us more ambitious to work towards the level 5! It is a great way to see all our hard work get recognition and spread the word of our great school garden.
Outdoor Learning Space
The garden has been used as an educational resource for all year group. Children have taken part in various projects including designing and making bird feeders from recycled materials, growing wheat and other foodstuffs, watching tadpoles and outdoor story time. The seating allows larger groups to sit outside during lessons.
The garden is used as a space for the school community. Anyone in the school community can take a walk around the garden after school hours. Most days you can hear children playing there as parents and carer chat and catch up. Jill Wharry developed this idea further by establishing a drop in for tea and coffee in the garden on Fridays after school. It is a great way to catch up with friends old and new!