Duchess of Cambridge Celebrates Ten Years of School Gardening

Wednesday 29 November 2017

- Her Royal Highness visits London school to mark anniversary of the Royal Horticultural Society’s Campaign for School Gardening - The Duchess learns more about the health and wellbeing benefits and gets busy planting spring bulbs and building bug hotels


                                                           
The Duchess of Cambridge visited green fingered youngsters at Robin Hood Primary School in Kingston Vale today to celebrate ten years of the Royal Horticultural Society’s (RHS) Campaign for School Gardening.

Her Royal Highness got straight to work with some of the school’s 5-11 year old pupils; helping to plant spring-flowering bulbs – including daffodils and snake's head fritillaries - and build bug hotels for garden insects in the shadow of the school’s existing ‘Buggingham Palace’.

During the visit, The Duchess received a briefing on the RHS nation-wide campaign and heard from the keen young gardeners about what they enjoy most about learning in a garden setting and from teachers about its impact. A recent survey of those taking part in the RHS campaign found that four in five have used gardening to improve young people’s health and wellbeing.

Robin Hood Primary School is one of over 34,000 schools and youth groups now signed up to the RHS campaign which calls for all children to be given the chance to garden.

With support from the RHS, the school has developed a progressive outdoor learning curriculum where pupils have access to a range of outdoor classrooms in a woodland setting. These give children the opportunity to explore the natural environment and take part in challenging yet achievable activities that bring learning to life.

Ruth Evans, Director of Education said: “We’re tremendously honoured that the Duchess of Cambridge has taken the time to see first-hand the huge and positive impact that gardening can have on children’s educational attainment and health and wellbeing. Through our RHS Campaign for School Gardening we have a growing army of school children already helping to protect and nurture our invaluable green spaces in towns and cities and lend a helping hand to important and varied wildlife.”

Pete Boulton, Headteacher at Robin Hood Primary & Nursery School, said: “Gardening and outdoor learning has become an essential part of the curriculum. The development of a creative and engaging outdoor learning environment has enhanced our thematic classroom based learning and committed staff and enthusiastic children have benefitted from the invaluable skills of collaboration and teamwork.

“Our outdoor learning approach and gardening opportunities support children’s development, enabling them to develop their confidence and resilience in a sociable and stimulating environment. We’re delighted that The Duchess has given our garden and its keen gardeners her royal seal of approval and we now look forward to welcoming the inhabitants of our newly built bug house and spring bulb colour.”

Schools and youth groups can sign-up to receive free resources and support from the RHS Campaign for School Gardening. Useful tools include seeds, plant labels, stickers and posters, as well as ideas for practical activities and lesson plans to help make the most of a school garden.

-Ends-

Notes to editors

Images are available on request.

Footnotes
1. The RHS surveyed members of the RHS Campaign for School Gardening in June 2017 and received 636 responses from schools. 83% felt that gardening had improved young people’s mental wellbeing and 82% their physical wellbeing.

About the RHS Campaign for School Gardening
The RHS Campaign for School Gardening actively involves over 34,000 schools and groups across the UK in growing and gardening. Children are taught about plants and gardening and their environment.

Through gardening they learn about healthy fruit and vegetables, wildlife and important life skills such as teamwork, social skills and co-operation. Using an outdoor classroom where children can learn in a fun, engaging way provides huge benefits. Information, lesson plans and advice for schools is provided online and is backed up by support from the RHS Education team and RHS Campaign for School Gardening Regional Advisors.

Schools and youth organisations can sign up to RHS Campaign for School Gardening online: www.rhs.org.uk/schoolgardening

About the RHS
The Royal Horticultural Society was founded in 1804 by Sir Joseph Banks and John Wedgwood to inspire passion and excellence in the science, art and practice of horticulture. Our vision is to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener, healthier, happier and more beautiful place. We believe everyone in every village, town and city should benefit from growing plants to enhance lives, build stronger, healthier, happier communities and create better places to live.

We held our first flower shows in 1820, were granted a Royal Charter in 1861 and acquired RHS Garden Wisley, our flagship garden, in 1903. From our first meetings in a small room off London’s Piccadilly, we have grown to become the world’s largest gardening charity. At our gardens and shows and through our scientific research, publications, libraries and our education and community programmes we inspire a passion for gardening and growing plants, promote the value of gardens, demonstrate how gardening is good for us and explain the vital roles that plants undertake.

The RHS is committed to bring the joy of gardening to millions more people, inspire the next generation of gardeners and invest in the future to safeguard a £10.4 billion industry employing more than 300,000 people. We are entirely funded by our members, visitors and supporters. RHS membership is for anyone with an interest in gardening. Support the RHS and help us secure a healthy future for gardening. For more information call: 020 3176 5820, or visit www.rhs.org.uk/join

RHS Registered Charity No. 222879/SC038262

For more information please contact Claire Weaver on 0207 821 3688 or claireweaver@rhs.org.uk or Laura Scruby on 020 7821 3060 or laurascruby@rhs.org.uk.

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About the RHS

The RHS believes that gardening improves the quality of life and that everyone should have access to great garden experiences. As a charity we help to bring gardening into people's lives and support gardeners of all levels and abilities; whether they are expert horticulturists or children who are planting seeds for the very first time.

RHS membership is for anyone with an interest in gardening. Support the RHS and secure a healthy future for gardening. For more information call: 0845 130 4646, or visit www.rhs.org.uk

RHS Registered Charity No. 222879/SC038262