Ellesmere Primary School Headteacher Stuart Roberts has backed a campaign by Gardener’s World’s Carol Klein to get an allotment at every UK school.
He made installing a new raised bed allotment a key priority during lockdown, and now children are seeing the fruits of their labour making it onto their dinner plates.
According to the Gardeners’ World presenter Carol Klein, gardening should be on the school curriculum in order to teach children how food is produced and about the vital role plants play in sustaining life on Earth.
Mr Roberts said: “Teaching children about where food comes from is an important part of our curriculum. I agree that all schoolchildren should have the opportunity to see for themselves where it comes from.
“This year, with support from the local community, we built our own allotment with a raised bed for every class.
“We have taken great pleasure from watching our allotment flourish. The children chose what they wanted to grow, researched how to grow it and then got digging!
“The children have loved getting involved and we can’t wait to taste our first crops!”
The school’s gardening patch was extended while the majority of pupils were learning at home during lockdown.
The raised beds complement the existing outdoor-learning provisions including outdoor classrooms, forest school and wildlife pond.
Thanks to the new allotments, children are learning where their food comes from, plant life cycles, the importance of pollinators, food chains, sustainability, recycling, caring for the environment, teamwork and more.
Mr Roberts said establishing a working allotment was high on his list of priorities at the school.
“I’ve wanted to get an allotment up and running since becoming head here, as we have so much space outside,” Mr Roberts added.
“I know the benefits that growing vegetables can bring to children – particularly those who flourish most in practical settings.
“I’m a complete beginner, but I saw at my previous school how much children can get from it, and how much they can learn.
“We wanted to create enough space for every class to have their own area, so I asked our caretaker, Peter Brayne, to build substantial raised beds after taking advice from a couple of local ‘allotmenteers’.
Ellesmere Primary School joined North West Academies Trust (NWAT) in September 2016 and is now in the middle of an ambitious programme of transformation.
Classrooms have been significantly upgraded with fresh fittings and state-of-the-art kitchen areas, new flooring and heating systems have been installed and the car park has been made safer.
The school was highly praised in last year’s ‘Good’ Ofsted inspection and pupil numbers are on the rise.
For more information contact the office, tel: 01691 622 288, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit: ellesmereprimaryschool.org.uk