Reaping the benefits of gardening project

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Youngsters are blossoming after getting their hands dirty to improve their school grounds.

Children at Southlands School in North Shields have been working with the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) to erect greenhouses, grow vegetables and look after hens.

Students at Southlands School in North Shields working with the RHS as part of their curriculum. Sarah Carrie from the RHS working with students (l-r) Shaine Helgaard, Michael Morgan, Arron Gray and Andrew Francis. GM021780

Students at Southlands School in North Shields working with the RHS as part of their curriculum. Sarah Carrie from the RHS working with students (l-r) Shaine Helgaard, Michael Morgan, Arron Gray and Andrew Francis. GM021780

The students, who have moderate learning, social and behavioural difficulties, are part of the EPICC unit (extended provision for the inclusion of challenging children) at the school.

But in a year-long project with the RHS, they are working alongside gardening expert and RHS schools advisor Sarah Carrie on a number of projects designed to access learning outside the classroom.

Teacher Stella Ellis said: “Gardening is a fantastic way of breaking down barriers.

“Working alongside our students in the garden has helped us to engage, nurture and develop positive working relationships with our young people who at times can display challenging behaviour.

“Our students are immensely proud of what they have managed to achieve.”

Pupils from the school recently topped the Young Gardener of the Year category in this year’s North Tyneside in Bloom competition.