Nearly 20 applications were made by local schools for grant funding support from the SBC eco-grant, administered as part of Stafford Borough Eco-Schools Network.
Each of these schools were able to bid for up to £450 towards their eco projects which are described briefly below. The descriptions are taken from the schools’ feedback reports. Here is a selection of the projects that the schools have done, along with some photographs
Bishops Lonsdale Primary School created a new path from the school to the garden as it had previously been waterlogged ground. This has now made their garden accessible for everyone. They have also started to establish planting to eventually create a ‘sensory path’ with all kinds of plants to touch, smell, listen to etc. The path leads to some excellent raised beds and the garden sheds (which received SBC eco-grant funding in previous years). Here the school has been running a gardening club, growing some amazing fruit and vegetables.
Castlechurch Primary School
‘Thanks ... this grant funding has had a really big impact at Castlechurch!’ The School used their funding to help improve an unused area of the grounds to create a small pond. In addition each class was involved in a Green Day (on UNEP’s World Environment Day, 5 June) planting flowers and vegetables creatively. Over 400 children were involved in lots of activities, plus many parent helpers and volunteers. This project helped the children understand and respect the grounds of their school, nature and the wider environment.
Sir Graham Balfour bought a new shed with their grant funding to keep all of their gardening tools safe. They also used the grant to replenish some of the plants that have been planted in their raised beds. Mrs Hill has also run a range of eco activities and veg growing lessons such as growing pumpkins.
Manor Hill First School has created raised beds for each year group to plant vegetables in and the beds are keenly looked after by the children. The younger year groups of the school created a wildlife garden to help them with their studies of mini-beasts. This garden has also helped all of the children develop a greater understanding of life cycles and the growth of animals.
Oulton First School used the grant to make recycling in their school a lot easier and to promote it to everyone in the school community. They bought recycling bins and placed them next to the normal bin so it would be as easy to recycle as it would to throw anything in the usual bin. The class that recycled the most during the week keeps the ‘eco-mascot’, Reccly, a loveable knitted rattle-monster made by Bangladeshi women on ‘fair pay’.
Stafford Sports College has used their funding to create new planters and raised beds for their school garden. The children at the school have built the planters themselves. The school bought power tools that would aid in the building of the planters and the tools are now used on a daily basis. More planters will be built to make the garden even better. ‘We have never before had an eco-grant so well used by students!’
Tittensor First School used their funding to build a sensory garden that is already being used by children and visitors to the school. For instance the Stone small schools cluster visited for a science day. Children have also built a mini beast hotel and everyone is learning about food chains, pollinating insects and why and how we can care for the environment.
St. Lawrence CE Primary School gardening club efforts have been scuppered by the local rabbits – till now! With funding to purchase rabbit proof fencing, fence pots and fixings, plus two greenhouses and additional ‘sundries’, the gardening outlook is now much brighter. There is a very active gardening club growing vegetables from seed this year to completion and staff have been tending the garden with their classes throughout the summer term. Parents and grand-parents have helped us grow our vegetables and will also help to tend the garden over the Summer holidays.
St. Leonard’s Primary Stafford applied for a grant to install a pond dipping platform in their Woodland Garden. The new platform is constructed of recycled plastic, which is very durable and much less prone to become dangerously slippery than a softwood equivalent. To the rear is a safety barrier that doubles as a handling bench on which specimens and other equipment can be placed. The new platform has allowed even young children to undertake pond dipping in a safe and secure way.
Regular working parties involving pupils, staff, governors and parents are held on Saturday mornings during term time. Staff and governors have compiled an exciting action plan for the Woodland Garden and are part way through realizing this. Other exciting projects being considered include a tree trail, minibeast trapdoors and sensory planters.
Walton Hall Academy have used their grant to create an outdoor learning area with a sensory trail, a hazel and willow woven fence, bird feeders, a clearing with a log circle and a stumpery . The project also incorporates lots of habitats for wildlife, including a hedgehog home and a Bug Hotel. Looks like the hedgehog came to say thanks!
The new sensory trail has meant the school was able to hold a very successful forest school project over the summer term. Walton Hall Academy has incorporated this outdoor learning across the curriculum. The focus for students with the greatest sensory needs will be an outdoor based programme.
Walton High School aimed to enhance habitats and create wildlife shelters and have done a great job. The school already features orchards, raised beds, a linear vineyard, the tranquil ‘Harmony Garden’ and much more. The focus of the grant has been on making bird boxes and bat houses, erected throughout the school grounds – with some sold to raise funds for the eco-club. Interest and awareness of wildlife is high around the school and the Eco-Schools Network members were invited to have a look at the school’s eco-projects earlier this year.
Walton Priory Middle School The grant awarded to the school was spent on enabling and encouraging gardening activities and included the purchase of a greenhouse. Vegetables and flowers have been grown from seed at school and many children have made lady bird boxes and hedgehog homes at home with their families. Staff and volunteers work with the children in the garden and church goers and the local community have been welcomed to see.
'Work in the garden has a beneficial effect on behaviour, individual learning and enjoyment in daily school life and has also encouraged wildlife in school’.
Weston Road Academy The plan is to create an outdoor learning area near the veg garden and hen pen.
Hedging has been planted, a central space cleared and seeded with grass. Fruit trees have been planted. Wood has been purchased and 40 bird boxes made. A bee box has been installed on the side of the school building, some bee cocoons have subsequently hatched. Some groups have also had a talk from a local bee expert.
A small shed has been purchased for use in the hen-keeping area. And garden benches have been made from recycled half round rails, on the suggestion of Karen.
Our raised beds are used regularly especially supporting the Nurture Group and Gardening Club. Pupil self-esteem has grown throughout the gardening year.
‘It has been a delight to witness at first hand the enthusiasm, particularly of the less able, in seeing their planting and tending come to fruition’.
Project reports to follow from Blessed William Howard, Flash Ley Community Primary and St Leonard’s.