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
Stafford Manor High School
We rebuilt the school garden completely. The area was derelict and full of waist-high weeds in December 2015.
We managed to get the site cleared and the raised beds built by Easter and students were harvesting potatoes, lettuce, beans and radishes before the summer term ended!
The children loved the outside work, even in poor weather, and they learned how to work as a team. Their confidence has grown and their pride in the garden is obvious for all to see.
Weston Road Academy
This year we have kept the new hedge healthy and well managed, erected nest boxes and enjoyed a willow weaving day learning lots of new skills. This project resulted in the creation of a unique willow daisy hedge feature. The willow daisies have been linked together and placed over the growing hedge to provide
a temporary barrier and artistic interest.
Oulton First School
Oulton First School Eco project grant from Stafford Borough for 2015/2016 is being used to enable us to create a sensory garden to include a quiet seating area, a water feature, landscaping and plants which children can taste, touch, smell, see and hear. The garden will be available all year round as a place for reflection and also as an outdoor learning area to encourage children to get closer to nature.
We have been developing our chicken area, improving access to the hen pen and purchasing wellies and aprons for the children to wear when collecting eggs and feeding chickens. We have purchased a gazebo seating area for reaching and learning in and have an Aztec paving circle on order.
Walton High School
Our project was called ‘Year round Wreaths, Swags and other decorations’.
It all started when one of the members of our eco-club came across an article about a company that made seasonal wreaths to celebrate special events. We purchased their book, ‘The Wreath Recipe Book’ and began making our own wreaths and garlands to celebrate special events. The grant covered the cost of initial tools, equipment and plant. Our Eco-club members have learned all sorts of craft and floristry skills. We have been able to enhance school and community events by providing wreaths and garlands to decorate venues.
At Christmas wreaths were in great demand and staff and students were attending workshops after school to keep up with demand!
Sir Graham Balfour
With the grant budget received from SBC we arranged, an inter house gardening competition in conjunction with the Queens 90th Birthday. Matt Long, local community gardener, worked with the students over a period of four months, guiding them with the preparation, planting and maintenance of the beds. Together we also created a Bug Hotel!
Leasowes Primary School
School is creating a sensory garden. Lots of research and planning has begun! The main work will take place in the Autumn Term onwards.
Blessed Mother Teresa
The school has stared work revamping the quadrant area. They have cleared away old and dilapidated benches and tables, repairing what could be saved.
The aim is to develop a sensory garden which is also attractive to wildlife and the school has started a wildlife and nature club.
St Andrew’s CE Primary School
Children at St Andrew’s thoroughly enjoy gardening and learning all about the environment around them but up until this year there has been a problem. There has been no external water supply!
However thanks to the grant provided by Stafford Borough Council and the Stafford Borough Eco-Schools Network the school has purchased three large water butts.
Two of the water butts are on the playground and there are plans for the third to be placed in the reception outdoor area. The water butts have encouraged independence, understanding and have made caring for the garden much easier!
Manor Hill First School
The school has been restoring the pond, with the support of parents, to make it accessible for all for pond dipping and nature activities. This has entailed undertaking timber repairs and re-painting the fence, replacing the pond liner, and planting additional shrubs. The school and community have worked together to create a haven of natural beauty restoring wild life and access for all.
King Edward IV High School
Over the last year students and staff have transformed an unused long jump track into a thriving vegetable garden.
Students have worked to construct and fill 12 raised beds. They have also put up a self- assembly shed, a poly-tunnel and a rainwater harvesting system - and have made a hedgehog house and pallet bird boxes!
Barnfields Primary School
We have built a wildlife pond to encourage wildlife and to help us study within the curriculum and in our Eco Club. Children have raised additional funding for the pond project by selling pears and sunflower seeds harvested at school. he children of Year 6 completed a science test for NFER which raised another £100 and staff and pupils came to school in an item of green clothing to raise a further £411.
We are very excited to have a pond - it has been on our wish list since we started our Eco Club many moons ago - thank you very much!
Church Eaton Endowed (VA) Primary School
We have created pond dipping platforms for the children to get more involved in pond life. We have bought or constructed bird boxes, a duck house and several bug hotels around the school. The children have enhanced the wildlife around the outskirts of the pond through planting. We have prepared an area ready for a bird watching shed. We purchased 65 fresh water mussels, each with a child’s name and housed them within the pond.
St Austin’s Stafford
We have introduced an outdoor activity based programme to the school which we have called St Hubert’s Forest School. The programme is led by a fully trained Forest Schools Teaching Assistant with the additional voluntary support of a parent. The project includes activities such as shelter building, woodland crafts, foraging and the creation of natural habitats for wildlife.
To enable to teaching assistant to achieve accreditation for the training she has had to write many policies, procedures and guidance to ensure the safety of the children as well as develop a programme of delivery. Some of the eco-grant funding helped us purchase tools and equipment.
St Lawrence’s Gnosall
This year we have developed our Forest School provision and expanded our gardening plot. We have obtained the services of a gardening guru from the local community and have been able to harvest crops to use in the school kitchen. The children and staff have enjoyed raspberries, strawberries, potatoes and beans to mention a few of the crops we have harvested.
They have watched them grow, and watered them as well as harvested them too.
Staff and children have all taken part in gardening club and overseen the maintenance of the plots during the year. We have planted and replanted as necessary!
Cooper Perry Primary
We have installed a new greenhouse, purchased some new tools and bought seeds to plant - our next project is a recycled bottle greenhouse!
Haughton St Giles
Our eco-grant allowed us to relocate and improve our 'peace garden'. We painted planters, fences and tubs and then put in a range of plants that support spiritual values eg lavender (healing), rosemary (remembrance) and thyme. We are currently setting up a gardening club, forging links with Haughton Gardening Guild, as well as an eco-club.