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Grant is blooming good for garden

From left: Michael Whale, plant manager of MSD; pupils William, Charlie, George, Ayan and George; and headteacher John Newport.
From left: Michael Whale, plant manager of MSD; pupils William, Charlie, George, Ayan and George; and headteacher John Newport.

Marden Bridge Middle School, in Whitley Bay, has received a grant of almost £30,000.

The donation, from Cramlington-based pharmaceutical company MSD, will go towards creating a school garden from derelict land at the back of the school.

This is one of the latest in a line of grants MSD Cramlington has donated to North East charities and not-for-profit organisations, bringing a substantial contribution of more than half-a-million pounds into the region since 2000.

The garden will not only help students better understand science, the environment, climate change and sustainability, it will also create an opportunity for staff and students to engage in the future running ​​​​​​​​of the garden scheme for the benefit of the school and local community.

The plan is to enhance the teaching of botany, food technology, geography and science, among other things, by the creation of vegetable and flower beds, use of a polytunnel and irrigation system and installation of a weather station. An innovation shed will also form part of the garden.

The overall aim is to teach students practical lifelong skills which will help them to improve, appreciate and conserve their local environment which will in turn impact on how they view and interact with the wider world as they become adults and leave the education system.

Students and teachers will work with the Parent Teacher Association and other interested local community groups as well as the parents of children on the project.

Staff from MSD Cramlington will also participate in the creation of the garden.

The outside classroom approach that will be adopted will ensure that more than 500 pupils can regularly gain access to the garden and develop their love and interest in science and nature.

The school also intends to sell some of the produce made in the garden.

Headteacher John Newport said: “We are really appreciative of the grant and look forward to developing our garden with students, parents and stakeholders.

“It gives a fabulous opportunity to develop a different angle of school life.”