Kirklees primary schools take part in Grow to School project

PUBLISHED: 00:00 02 May 2016

Grow to School

Grow to School

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Children pull on their wellington boots and gardening gloves to take on a new outdoor challenge

Grow to SchoolGrow to School

Primary schools in Kirklees have accepted the challenge to ‘grow their own’ as part of a scheme to help pupils understand the mysteries of gardening. Seven schools have signed up for the project run by Grow to School, a National Lottery funded organisation aimed at getting children to spend more time outdoors and learning about growing food. Each school will receive ‘Growbag’ equipment worth £1,800 which will allow them to get growing in the years to come.

Zana Wood, one of the founders of Grow to School, explained: ‘After working in a variety of schools we recognised the need to simplify the mysteries of gardening to help staff and pupils to grow all year round. The Growbag, containing seeds, plants, a detailed garden diary, growing plans and step by step instruction sheets, offers as close to fool-proof gardening as you can get.’

The invitation to apply for the free Growbag was advertised widely across Kirklees and Calderdale. ‘We were inundated with applications and it was a tough choice narrowing it down to just seven schools. We chose the widest variety we could and so some have great outdoor areas for growing while others have hardly any space. The assessment criteria meant we selected, without realising, the largest and smallest primary schools in Kirklees. We are really excited about this project and are determined to battle slugs, rain and even sheep to get as many schools growing in Kirklees that we can!’ Grow to School provides all the support and knowledge to set-up, run and sustain a productive educational school garden. They also support schools by providing inspiring outdoor-based topics which complement English, maths, science, geography and history lessons.

Zana added: ‘Getting children outside and gardening has many benefits. Growing food is a great way to get children enthused about eating more fruit and vegetables, engaged in the natural environment and using maths, geography and science skills in a different and stimulating ways. Most of the time they don’t even realise they are learning as we turn a packet of seeds into a maths lesson and weeds into a fun science lesson.’

Children take part in Grow to SchoolChildren take part in Grow to School

The seven schools are Birkby Junior School, Longley School, Paddock Junior Infant and Nursery School, Lowerhouses Junior and Infant School, Holme Junior and Infant School and Cowlersley Primary School who are all in and around Huddersfield. The lone Calderdale school is Bradshaw Primary School, Halifax.

‘We are really excited to have been chosen for the ‘Growbag’ scheme,’ said Cheryl Kennedy from Longley School. ‘This is a fantastic opportunity for our pupils and staff across the whole school to access the benefits of growing food and engage in hands on, practical learning about eating healthy food, that they have grown themselves. The resources and support provided are fabulous and tell us exactly what to do and when. After completing our first session today, we can’t wait for the next one.’

About Grow to School

Grow to School aims to enhance the school curriculum and school grounds, support active learning and encourage healthier lifestyles and address issues of obesity, recycling and nature. Growing food is a great way to get children engaged in the natural environment, enthused about eating more fruit and vegetables and using maths, geography and science skills in a different and stimulating context.

And it’s possible anywhere, say organisers. ‘Even if you have nothing but a concrete yard Grow to School can help create a garden. If a school has some open green space or a neglected growing area ‒ or even just a few window sills ‒ we can work with staff and the children to get you growing.’

Grow to School say that setting up or maintaining an edible school garden can seem like a time consuming and daunting task. ‘But the team will come to your school and work with your pupils and staff at a manageable cost and leave you with the knowledge, skills and confidence to do-it-yourself. Or we can maintain a relationship with your school for as long as you need,’ say organisers.

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