FE students create inspirational school garden for learning about nature

July 2015

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(NOTE: This is an archived press release.)

Writtle College Further Education students have created a beautiful garden at an Essex primary school so children can go pond-dipping, make bug hotels and learn more about nature.

The stunning garden at Kings Road Primary School in Melbourne, Chelmsford, will be officially opened by Lord Petre, Lord Lieutenant of Essex and Patron of Essex Wildlife Trust, at a special event on 13 July.

Level 3 Extended Diploma in Horticulture students – who were also involved in the College’s winning Ideal Home Show garden - built and planted the garden over the last two years.

The garden, funded by the school’s PTA, features an outside building with pergola, decking so the children can go pond-dipping, dry stone walling with bug hotels, a natural filtration system, stepping stones so they can go safely into the pond, hand-built wooden trays so they can look at the beasts they have caught…and much more!

Ben Wincott, FE Horticulture Lecturer, who designed and oversaw the construction of the garden, said: “Creating this garden has given our students real-life, practical experience of working for a client to a brief. They have designed an inspirational, functional, safe area for pupils to get up-close to nature, constructed some difficult elements, and ensured the planting is appropriate and thought-provoking.

“The space has been transformed into a stunning outdoor classroom and I am really proud of what the students have achieved. It has been brilliant to hear such positive feedback from the staff at the school and to hear the excitement of the children!”

Joshua Kemp, 20, from Latchingdon, worked on the project. The 20-year-old, who has just completed his course and will now be working as a Trainee Gardener at RHS Hyde Hall, said: “This project has given me and the team countless opportunities and experiences, including sourcing materials and plants, building and installing decking and gaining insight into setting up a self-filtrating two-pond system. Thanks to Ben’s management, I feel that these skills are up to industry standard and will equip us for the future.”

Liz Kelly, Chair of the PTA, said: “Over the last two years the team has worked incredibly hard to create a truly amazing and inspirational pond and outdoor learning space with lots of different aspects for the children to explore and appreciate.

“The circular route along the decking, over the stepping stones and through the flowers back to the shed will definitely be a delight for the children. The team thought a great deal about the plants to use and the vast array of colours, shapes and sizes make the area look really stunning.

“There has been a growing sense of excitement as the area has neared completion with children and staff peering through windows and eagerly awaiting the opportunity to enjoy some pond-dipping, bug hotel-making and mini beast-hunting.”