Horticulture could be on the curriculum from next year
20 February 2013
Gardening could be taught in schools from September 2014, a move very much welcomed by the RHS.
The consultation on reform of the National Curriculum states that pupils from Key Stages 1–3 should be taught ‘to cultivate plants for practical purposes such as for food or for decorative displays’ as a key activity in design and technology lessons.
The RHS welcomes and supports plans to include 'gardening' on the curriculum from September 2014, as outlined in the draft proposal of the curriculum. The next challenge, however, will be ensuring that all teachers are prepared for this important addition to the curriculum.
Sarah Cathcart, RHS Head of Education and Learning, says: 'We’ve been campaigning for this for nearly 10 years so we are thrilled that the Government has recognised that there is a need for children to be taught gardening at school. Our research shows the huge range of benefits to pupils, so this is a significant step and one that we are delighted by.'
'We now need to help teachers and school staff get the support they need to teach horticulture to children. More than 16,300 schools are signed up to our Campaign for School Gardening, which gives teachers access to useful resources such as lesson plans and tips for planning and setting up a school garden. We also have a team of RHS Regional Advisors who work directly with schools.
The Food Growing in Schools Taskforce report, which referenced research carried out by the RHS in 2010, highlighted the following benefits for school pupils through gardening at school:
- Improves academic achievement e.g. gardening enhances scientific understanding, numeracy, literacy and language skills.
- Builds life and employability skills e.g. food-growing improves financial literacy, builds enterprise and communication skills and helps motivation and behaviour.
- Improves health and wellbeing e.g. growing fruit and vegetables leads to a better understanding of food and nutrition and an increased consumption of fresh produce.
To further raise the profile of gardening in schools and to celebrate gardening skills in young people, the RHS is now looking for the UK’s most passionate, talented and knowledgeable gardening pupils. To find out more about the RHS Young School Gardener of the Year 2013, visit: www.rhs.org.uk/schoolgardening.