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Horticulture helps vulnerable children

31 January 2012

Potting up

A recent report by the RHS has found that gardening in schools can help even the most vulnerable of children maintain their place within society.

The report 'Moving up, Growing on' focuses on six schools across Yorkshire where children and young people with Special Educational Needs (SEN) take part in school gardening projects.

Sarah-Jane Mason, SEN Project Officer for the RHS and co-author of the report, explains; 'Gardening is a practical subject, so for a child with SEN this means it is accessible – it makes learning fun and opens up a new world of possibility.'

During their involvement with gardening projects, students learn an average of 15 new horticultural and life skills. These skills provide a foundation for some students to move into further education and participate in work experience.

Sarah- Jane recalls Ghulam, a 13 year old who was starting to become disengaged from education. 'Through my work with him he now wants to start his own gardening business when he leaves school and has now enrolled on a placement to gain accreditation through the National Open College Network for his practical skills.'

Lorraine Petersen, Chief Executive of National Association for Special Educational Needs also praises the role of gardening in education. 'When a child has Special Educational Needs, it is imperative that they feel part of society in order to succeed. From what I have read and seen, gardening in schools puts everyone on a level playing field - they all learn together, experience together and move forward together.'

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