Today, thirteen Year 10 students have achieved their City & Guilds Level 1 Certificate in Practical Horticulture.
St. Bede’s & St. Joseph’s Catholic College have been working in partnership with Bradford Council; Bradford Youth Build Trust; Shipley College, Bradford Works, The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) and the City & Guilds awarding body, to develop practical horticulture within the school and community garden.
Since July 2014 a variety of students have been working in the school garden to complete a range of units to achieve their BTEC and City & Guilds certificates.
Mr. Walker who has been leading the project states that the students are “Growing practical skills for life by working in the garden”.
The school gardening project has inspired and supported students across a range of courses and provided them with gardening opportunities to enhance their skills and boost their social and educational development. The project has shown that the direct benefits of gardening for students span a broad spectrum. The garden project has improved the physical and mental well-being of the students and has helped to builds their life skills in areas such as confidence, teamwork and communication and leadership.
Mr Walker said: “The students experience in the school garden has enhanced their literacy, numeracy and oracy skills.”
· Mr Walker believes that the development of rural studies within the inner city is crucial to the development of young people. In fact, as a young police constable patrolling Heaton and Manningham, Mr Walker who had just left St. Bede’s 6th form became a founder member of The Bradford City Farm, Walker Drive, Girlington, Bradford together with Miss Joanna Allen (then Maths teacher at SJCC) and Canon Roberts the Bishop of Bradford. This project developed into The Prism Youth Project, formerly known as the Bradford Police Club for Young People. The PRISM Youth Project has since evolved into a dynamic, innovative and creative organisation.
Mr Walker believes that St. Bede’s & St. Joseph’s can achieve similar success through the provision of alternative education that can be linked to accredited school based initiatives.
This years’ course in practical horticulture has been tailored to the individual needs of the students who have been offered guidance and support that has empowered them to excel in this area of education. This year, one student – Bradley Busfield has successfully completed his Level 3 Public Services course and is now preparing for a life just over the border studying Environmental and Landscape Management at Manchester Metropolitan University. He intends to work for the National Trust or English Heritage as a professional landscaper after completing his university course.
Bradley originally began gardening in Lister Park while on work experience in 6th form when he was studying Public Services.
Photo: 1600 - Year 13 Public Services students completing their course work on Volunteering in the school garden. Bradley is the student on the far right of the picture.·
· Mr Walker believes that practical horticulture can enrich the entire curriculum from science, maths and geography, to art, design and languages. It encourages a better and healthier lifestyle while it teaches students about the environment and sustainability. He has found that it has helped students engage with their school surroundings better and has developed in them a sense of responsibility and ownership.
Students involved in the school garden 2014 – 2015:
• Work Experience 6th formers.
• Year 13 Public Services students.
• Year 10 Practical Horticulture students.