RHS School Gardeners of the Year 2018 winners announced

Thursday 21 June 2018

• Shropshire fifteen-year-old crowned RHS Young School Gardener of the Year
• London secondary school wins RHS School Gardening Team of the Year
• Norfolk teacher named RHS School Gardening Champion of the Year

 

St Gregory's - credit: RHS / Luke Macgregor

Secondary schools have come out on top in this year’s Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) School Gardeners of the Year competition, winning across all three categories - Young School Gardener, School Gardening Team and School Gardening Champion of the Year – for the first time in the competition’s seven-year history.

Celebrating the passion and creativity in school gardening, the competition shines a light on the powerful impact that gardening can have on children’s learning, development and wellbeing.

This year’s winners, chosen by a panel of judges from nearly 200 nominations are:

• RHS Young School Gardener of the Year 2018: Ellie Micklewright, Newport Girls’ High School Academy Trust, Newport, Shropshire
Skilled 15-year-old gardener Ellie started her school’s gardening club from scratch, galvanising an army of 40 students and staff to transform the school grounds. As well as researching, planning and designing the garden Ellie also secured funding from local businesses to help create wildlife habitats, a sensory zone and an orchard.

RHS School Gardening Team of the Year 2018: St Gregory’s Catholic Science College, Harrow, London
A team of 13-15 year olds have designed and built an outdoor learning environment on a patch of land originally earmarked for a staff car park extension. For many of the school’s pupils the garden serves as their only connection with nature, inspiring lessons across the curriculum and campaigns to raise awareness of environmental issues such as reducing plastic use. Organic crops are also grown and the team maintain a large community flower bed at the entrance to the local park.

• RHS School Gardening Champion of the Year 2018: Matt Willer, Reepham High School & College, Reepham, Norfolk
History teacher Matt launched ‘The Allotment Project’ in 2015 on an abandoned corner of the school playing field. Hundreds of children and young people now volunteer, devoting their spare time to growing organic produce for the school kitchen and turning sinks, car tyres and bath tubs into growing containers. Matt takes a back to basics approach to maintenance – with grass cutting done by sickle and scythe.

Frances Tophill, BBC Gardeners’ World presenter and judge said: “This year’s winners prove the appeal of gardening for teens - whether it’s to boost wellbeing, learn valuable life skills or open up career opportunities such as paving the way for tomorrow’s conservationists. The determination, vision and hard work they’ve shown is nothing short of miraculous.”

Alana Cama, RHS Skills Development Manager said: “It’s so encouraging to see secondary schools sweeping the board in this year’s competition as, often, the pressure of exams and grades means fewer students over the age of 12 spending time in the garden. It just shows that with a little perseverance students like Ellie, groups like St Gregory’s, or teachers like Matt – a full time teacher teaching GCSE and A Level History – can reap the benefits of the outdoors.”

The winners and finalists of the Young School Gardener and School Gardening Champion of the Year categories will attend an awards ceremony at RHS Garden Wisley on Saturday 23rd June. The winner of School Gardening Team of the Year will receive a prize giving visit later in the year.

RHS School Gardeners of the Year 2018 is supported by greenhouse manufacturer Gabriel Ash and the company has donated a cedar greenhouse to the winning School Gardening Team of the Year, along with coldframes for all other winners and finalists. Additional prizes include a visit to the three category winners from Frances Tophill, as well as tools and National Garden Gift Vouchers.

The RHS School Gardeners of the Year competition forms part of the RHS Campaign for School Gardening which aims to get young people gardening by providing free resources and advice: www.rhs.org.uk/schoolgardening  
 

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Notes to editors

For more information and images please contact Claire Weaver or Laura Scruby in the RHS press office on
020 7821 3688, claireweaver@rhs.org.uk or laurascruby@rhs.org.uk

About the RHS Campaign for School Gardening: The RHS School Gardeners of the Year competition is part of the RHS Campaign for School Gardening, which actively involves over 36,000 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: https://schoolgardening.rhs.org.uk/  

Further details about the RHS School Gardeners of the Year 2018 competition and film clips of the winners are available here: https://schoolgardening.rhs.org.uk/SGOTY18 

 RHS Young School Gardener of the Year 2018:

Name School Award
Ellie Micklewright (15) Newport Girls’ High School Academy Trust, Shropshire RHS Young School Gardener of the Year 2018
KS4 / S3 – 4
(Age category and overall winner)
Shreya Per (7) St Luke's CEVA Primary School, London KS1 / P1 & P2
(Age category winner)
Caitlin Richardson (10) Barnton Community Nursery and Primary, Cheshire KS2 / P3-6 P2
(Age category winner)
Cameron Russell (14) Dumbarton Academy, West Dunbartonshire, Scotland KS3 / P7 & S1-2 P2
(Age category winner)
Jonah Caldwell (7) St Mary's Preparatory College, Blundellsands, Merseyside KS1 / P1 & P2 Finalist
Calypso Bliss Cleverly (6) Calypso Bliss Cleverly (6) Goring C of E Primary School, Reading KS1 / P1 & P2 Finalist KS1 / P1 & P2 Finalist
Jake Hara (7) Leconfield Primary School, Beverley, East Yorkshire KS1 / P1 & P2 Finalist
Harry Beany (8) Harry Beany (8) St Mark's Primary, Swanage, Dorset KS2 / P3-6 Finalist KS1 / P1 & P2 Finalist
Kelsi Rose (11)  Stanford in the Vale CE Primary School, Oxfordshire KS2 / P3-6 Finalist
Zoe Rebecca Wilkinson (10) Home schooled, Thornton-Cleveleys, Lancashire KS2 / P3-6 Finalist
Kizzy Cannom (13) Colchester High School, Essex KS3 / P7 & S1-2 Finalist
Gavin Hamilton (13) Dunblane High School, Stirling, Scotland KS3 / P7 & S1-2 Finalist
Charlie Jerman (13) St Faith's School, Cambridge KS3 / P7 & S1-2 Finalist
Jay Crocker (15) Langham Oaks School, Colchester, Essex KS4 / S3 – 4 Finalist KS4 / S3 – 4 Finalist
Cameron Harris (16) Mayfield School, Paignton, Devon KS4 / S3 – 4 Finalist
Jessica Steven Roberts (15) The Holt School, Wokingham KS4 / S3 – 4 Finalist

 RHS School Gardening Team of the Year 2018:

School Award
St Gregory's Catholic Science College, Harrow, London RHS School Gardening Team of the Year 2018
Epinay Business & Enterprise School, Tyne & Wear Finalist
Hitchin Youth Allotment (HiYA), The Priory School, Hitchin Finalist
Pennar Community School, Pembrokeshire Finalist

RHS School Gardening Champion of the Year 2018:

Name School Award
Matt Willer History teacher from Reepham High School & College, Norwich RHS School Gardening Champion of the Year 2018
Rob Antill Grandparent volunteer from Victoria Junior School, London Finalist
Ash Davies Horticulture Instructor from Belmont School, Lancashire Finalist
Sharon Osborne Teacher from Newall Green High School, Manchester Finalist

 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 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 £15 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
 

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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