Thursday 26 June 2014
Inspirational school gardening teacher recognised in national RHS competition
Noreen Daw, a Higher Level Teaching Assistant at Imberhorne School in East Grinstead, West Sussex has been named RHS School Gardening Champion of the Year 2014 for her incredible dedication to school gardening.
The panel of judges, which included ITV’s Love Your Garden presenter, Frances Tophill, broadcaster and gardening editor, Peter Seabrook and Head of Site at RHS Garden Hyde Hall, Ian Le Gros, were bowled over by her generosity, passion and commitment.
Between January and May this year, nominations for teachers and school staff from across the UK came pouring in to the RHS Campaign for School Gardening offices and just four finalists were selected. Each was given a digital camcorder to make a short film that would show the judging panel their passion for implementing gardening into the school, ability to inspire pupils and their efforts to incorporate gardening into the curriculum.
Noreen beat off stiff competition from fellow teachers and finalists Lynn Clarkson from Eagley Infant School in Bolton, Tom Moggach from Rhyl Primary School in London and James Samways from South Borough Primary School in Kent.
Frances Tophill said: “This was a difficult competition to judge as each of the finalists had something incredible to offer and were true champions of their school. However, Noreen is an absolute inspiration. A few years ago she had very little gardening knowledge but has learnt a variety of skills from scratch so that she could pass them onto her students and help them develop. She is a credit to her school and I’m delighted her unwavering commitment is being recognised through this competition.”
Noreen’s colleague and nominator Robert Langstone said: ““Noreen is an inspiration to me. She works so hard to improve the garden areas, liaising with a number of organisations to come and work with the students. Every year we have students that have gone on to study, or get an apprenticeship in, horticulture and/or gardening. She continually strives to ensure the students benefit in so many ways and I know that each of the students she works with hold her in very high regard. The gardens at school are unrecognisable from when we started the project nine years ago and most of that is down to Noreen. She gives up so much of her free time and has thrown herself into improving her gardening skills so that the students she works with really learn valuable skills that they can use for the rest of their lives. I am so proud to work with Noreen, she never fails to put a smile on my face and I am just delighted that she has been recognised for all her hard work with this award.”
As this year’s crowning champion, Noreen has won an engraved trowel, £500 in gardening vouchers for her school, a day working at an RHS garden alongside RHS gardeners, RHS membership for a year, a place on a school gardening training course and tickets to an RHS Flower Show next year. Noreen will be presented with her prizes at a prize-giving ceremony at RHS Garden Wisley on Saturday 5th July.
RHS School Gardening Champion of the Year is a new category that was added to this year’s RHS Young School Gardener of the Year competition. RHS School Gardening Team of the Year was also added.
George Hassall, eight years old from Buckton Vale Primary School in Carrbrook, near Greater Manchester, was named RHS Young School Gardener of the Year 2014 after wowing judges with his infectious enthusiasm, passion and impressive knowledge of gardening. A 39-strong Eco Club from Ysgol Esgob Morgan in St Asaph, Denbighshire was awarded RHS School Gardening Team of the Year 2014 for their wonderful teamwork and dedication.
Peter Seabrook said: “Each year this competition shows us just what young people are achieving across the UK and the standard is always outstanding. The introduction of the two additional categories is also a fantastic way of recognising the team efforts of schools and also the teachers who lead them to success.”
Sarah Cathcart, Head of Education & Learning at the RHS says: “We are absolutely delighted for Noreen, as well as her students and colleagues. It’s not always easy to encourage gardening within a secondary school but she always strives for excellence. Imberhorne School has successfully has a student in the final of RHS Young School Gardener of the Year every year so she must be doing something right!”
Noreen’s video and the other finalists’ videos can be viewed on the RHS Campaign for School Gardening’s YouTube page at youtube.com/RHSSchoolGardening.
The RHS Young School Gardener of the Year competition is part of the RHS Campaign for School Gardening which is now supporting almost 19,000 schools across the UK. RHS research has shown that gardening can help children develop by teaching them life skills and improving their wellbeing.
Notes to editors
For more information and images, please contact Alana Tapsell, Schools Communications Officer for the RHS Campaign for School Gardening at firstname.lastname@example.org or Ed Horne in the RHS Press Office on 020 7821 3356 or email email@example.com
About the RHS Campaign for School Gardening
The RHS actively involves almost 19,000 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. 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 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. 210 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.org.uk.
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 rhs.org.uk/join.
RHS Registered Charity No. 222879/SC038262