RHS Backs Plan for Gardening in Schools

Wednesday 20 February 2013

And pledges to support teachers in preparation for this transition

Gardening has been proposed to be taught in schools from September 2014, a move welcomed by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), but the next challenge will be ensuring that all teachers are prepared for this important addition to the curriculum.

The consultation on reform of the National Curriculum, released last week, states that pupils from Key Stages 1–3 will be taught ‘to cultivate plants for practical purposes’ as a key activity in design and technology lessons.*

Sarah Cathcart, RHS Head of Education and Learning, says: “We’ve been campaigning for this for nearly ten years so we are thrilled that the Government has recognised that there is a need for children to be taught gardening at school. Our research shows the huge range of benefits to pupils, so this is an enormously significant step and one that we are delighted by.

“We now need to help teachers and school staff get the support they need to teach horticulture to children. More than 16,300 schools are signed up to our Campaign for School Gardening, which gives teachers access to really useful resources such as lesson plans and tips for planning and setting up a school garden. We also have a team of RHS Regional Advisors who work directly with schools.

“Last year, we ramped up our focus on teacher-training and, through our national professional development programme and free after-school sessions delivered by RHS Regional Advisors, we equipped more than 2,100 teachers with the skills needed to teach the basics of gardening to pupils. Now that gardening will be part of the curriculum, we’d like to urge teachers to come to one of these workshops and visit our website, which will be re-launched later this year with even more information to help teachers share gardening knowledge with the next generation.”

Findings of a report released last year were integral in the decision to add gardening to the curriculum. A 25-member panel of experts, including the RHS, brought together evidence to show the benefits of giving children the chance to grow their own food. The Food Growing in Schools Taskforce report**, which referenced research carried out by the RHS in 2010***, highlighted the following benefits for school pupils through gardening at school:

• Improves academic achievement e.g. gardening enhances scientific understanding, numeracy, literacy and language skills;
• Builds life and employability skills e.g. food-growing improves financial literacy, builds enterprise and communication skills and helps motivation and behaviour;
• Improves health and wellbeing e.g. growing fruit and vegetables leads to a better understanding of food and nutrition and an increased consumption of fresh produce.


To further raise the profile of gardening in schools and to celebrate gardening skills in young people, the RHS is now looking for the UK’s most passionate, talented and knowledgeable gardening pupils. To find out more about the RHS Young School Gardener of the Year 2013, visit: www.rhs.org.uk/schoolgardening  
 

-Ends-

Notes to editors

For more information, please contact Ed Horne in the RHS Press Office on 020 7821 3356 or email edhorne@rhs.org.uk

*The National Curriculum in England – framework document for consultation states that pupils in Key Stages 1 – 3 should be taught how ‘to cultivate plants for practical purposes, such as for food or for decorative displays’. See pp156–160: https://media.education.gov.uk/assets/files/pdf/n/national%20curriculum%20consultation%20-%20framework%20document.pdf

**Food Growing in Schools Taskforce full report: http://www.gardenorganic.org.uk/pdfs/FGIS%20Main%20Report%20March%202012.pdf

***Gardening in Schools ‘A Vital Tool for children’s learning’ is an RHS report looking at the benefits of gardening at school on a child’s wellbeing and development: http://apps.rhs.org.uk/schoolgardening/teachershome/news/researchonschoolgardening.aspa  

 

About the RHS Campaign for School Gardening
The RHS actively involves more than 16,300 schools across the UK in growing and gardening through its Campaign for School 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. Huge benefits are to be had from using an outdoor classroom where children can learn in a fun, engaging way. Information, lesson plans and advice for schools is provided online and is backed up by support from the RHS education team and Campaign for School Gardening Regional Advisors. www.rhs.org.uk/schoolgardening  


About the RHS
The Royal Horticultural Society was founded in 1804 by Sir Joseph Banks and John Wedgwood for the encouragement and improvement of the science, art and practice of horticulture. We held our first flower shows in 1820, were granted a Royal Charter in 1861 and acquired RHS Garden Wisley, the first of our gardens, 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.

Today the RHS is committed to providing a voice for all gardeners. We are driven by a simple love of plants and a belief that gardeners make the world a better place. 200 years on we continue to safeguard and advance the science, art and practice of horticulture, creating displays that inspire people to garden. In all aspects of our work we help gardeners develop by sharing our knowledge of plants, gardens and the environment.

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/join  

RHS Registered Charity No. 222879/SC038262

 

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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