St John of Beverley RC Primary School has achieved a gold medal at this year’s Yorkshire in Bloom Awards and has also received the prestigious Young People’s Award for being the best school in this year’s competition. Pupils, parents, staff and governors are all celebrating the school’s accomplishments that were recognised at the award ceremony this week at the Royal Armouries, Leeds.

The school believes in the involvement of every member of the school community. This year, their organic veggie garden included a World War II Dig for Victory theme including the building of a full size Anderson Shelter and the production of fruit and vegetables grown along 1940s Ministry of Food guidelines.

This year, every one of the school’s 160 pupils planted a seed in class that they watched grow into a plant that found its way into a raised bed in the veggie garden or into the newly purchased poly-tunnel. Year 1 pupils have been fascinated to see their tomato and cucumber seeds grow into huge plants covered in tasty fruits. The school kitchen regularly serves meals that include produce grown by the children.

Headteacher, Theresa Rogerson, said,

This makes the link between the soil and the plate. Children know how food is produced and they respect it more when they have grown it themselves.

Year 6 children have watched weird and wonderful pumpkins grow from small seeds into enormous plants, planted in used tractor tyres. Gardening co-ordinator, Jonathan Roe, paid tribute to the whole school community. ‘This has been a team effort. We have a dedicated band of parents who help in the garden during the week. One of them took one of last year’s pumpkins and prepared seed from it. The children have been amazed to see how easy it can be to grow delicious produce.

The school is affiliated to the Royal Horticultural Society’s Campaign for School Gardening and has also achieved Level 4 in its Benchmarking Scheme. This has allowed the school to tap into the expert advice of local RHS expert, John Hickling and put on joint training events for other local schools.

The school’s Gardening Club are now making plans for next year’s garden and wondering what they can do to improve on this year’s success.