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(no subject) [May. 22nd, 2010|09:27 am]
kingswayprimary
Well, today starts our second year as The Independents On Sunday " Beacon School" for their school gardening campaign, "Helping children Grow"
At school, we are near the completion of our major 2 Million Pound school extension and whole school refurbishment! The school looks fantastic, and though it has been a year of much disruption, noise, dust, burst pipes, no heating {during the coldest winter for yearS} work should be completed by July!
We had to stop work on our gardens for a long time due to both the build and the terrible winter - but we are now fully back on track!
Interest was so high after our Easter break, that we extended our after school gardening club to two nights a week!
All beds were cleared, dug over, compost added and made ready for planting.
The polytunnel, not used at all, was cleared as a extra garden shed, areas dug over and was also made ready for planting.
In fact, it was all stations go!!!
A full and comprehensive break down, with photographs, will be added for next weeks blog - to show you all just how much work has been done - so watch this space.

Week by week, we will try to show you just how much can be done on a shoe string budget, whats been planted and how we are weaving the gardens into our school curriculum.
However, as we are currently expeiencing a mini heatwave {it won't last!} its off to water the gardens again before they wilt before they have got growing!!
Happy Gardening.
Liam Jackson
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Kingsway Primary - take 2! Friday 13th November [Nov. 13th, 2009|06:56 pm]
kingswayprimary
Well, sorry for the delay in writing for so long, but since our Harvest Festival, our gardening has ......stopped! This is not due to a lack of interest or lack of effort, but because of our building work!
We have been hit from all sides by the new 2 million pound extension and refurbishment of the school, and as we have had new windows put in throughout, for the dreaded Health & Safety reasons, the gardens have been OUT OF BOUNDS!!!

We were granted some access this week, but boy is everything OVERGROWN!
John Hickling from the RHS, came in on Wednesday, and was only able to stay for part of the day - and even then, he could only work with the children in tidying up the polytunnel. However, a planned programme was established to try and tidy up the gardens before Christmas - which with the build and the disruptions it has caused, is great for us.

We really did not start our gardening until February earlier this year anyway, so we know we can play catch up again to get everything back to normal.

I will take new photographs for the blog bext week - and fingers crossed we can finally get started again....

Happy Gardening.
Liam
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Kingsway Primary Autumn Term 2009 week 2 [Sep. 24th, 2009|08:40 pm]
kingswayprimary
Well, we have had real trouble getting into the gardens this week because of building problems!

The nature and extent of the building activities meant many areas were out of action, especially to children! However, a few teachers still went in to complete the weeding and digging over of areas inpreparation for activities next week!
This break did give us the chance to prepare for two big events.

Firstly, we hav been asked to run two workshops at a huge "sustainability" conference for the East Riding LA at Bridlington Spa next Tuesday! We are having two 40 minute slots to talk about our garden work, will show power point presentations of the last years work in the gardens and then take questions. Oh, we are taking children as well, who know better than us how exciting the project has been!

Secondly, we have been planning activities for the RHS Yorkshire and Humber Campaign "To get Grown Ups Growing" We are hosting our day on Wednesday 7th October, and hopefully will attract enough adults into school who would then continue to help with the gardens! The ultimate aim is to develop a love of growing your own fruit and vegetables, and to promote healthy eating amongst both the children and their parents and grand parents! I will keep you informed our detailed plans next week.

Anyway, i can see another crane pulling up outside the school, so its time to go!

Happy gardening.
Liam
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Kingsway Primary Autumn Term 2009 week 1 [Sep. 19th, 2009|09:59 am]
kingswayprimary
Well, we are finally back at school after a wonderful long summer holiday! We actually got a few days extra, as our 2 million pound build started in school, and unfortunately, school was unsafe to open! As you can see from this one angle, our main entrance to school has gone completely, as we are having a new entrance/reception area built here, alongside a new Foundation Stage Unit. Every classroom, corridor, toilet, office area and hall are being refurbished - so there will be no hiding from the chaos over the next 10 months! We will be watching the impact on the gardens as well, as all windows are being replaced around the school - which are just a couple of feet from the garden areas!

However, this week we finally opened!!!!

We returned to see that over the last 8 weeks, the gardens had suffered somewhat - mainly due to not being watered enough and the weeds had gone crazy! We spent a full day though, during one of the enforced closure days, to attack it head on. All weeds have now gone, dead plants removed and all areas tidied up. This was a good leaning curve for us, as in future years, we will not leave so many plants in during the summer break - and time planting and harvesting better. This would be more in line with the guidance from the RHS as well!!

 One of the now empty beds, ready for the children to start again. However, our fruit tress in the background are doing really well - though will need cutting back with the children!
 More empty beds!! Also, we need to start planning how to use our new polytunnel which can be seen in the distance.

Plans for this term are already underway. On Wednesday 7th October we are holding our "Family Day" with John Hickling from the RHS. Plans for this include inviting a small group of parents in to work with John in the morning to encourage them to start working in school on a regular basis. Then in the afternoon, all parents will be invited to come and see the children in action working in the gardens. Other plans include planning timetables for use of the polytunnel, and growing a range of new fruit and vegetables that we have not used before! Using our harvest festival will be a focal point as well, where all parents and grandparents will join in the celebrations - especially as this will be the first time we will be able to show off our own harvest produce as well!
Anyway, gardening clubs start again next week - so the cycle of work for the year begins again!
Happy Gardening.

Liam Jackson
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(no subject) [Jul. 17th, 2009|08:48 pm]
kingswayprimary
  

Well, the last week of term came and went - and what a week it was!!!

We started the week by harvesting much of our crops grown and had a great time eating a lot of it! Then we decided to sell the rest to parents, which you can see from the above photographs! The 4 tables were covered with onions, carrots, lettuce, cabbage, radishes etc We raised over £40, which will go into the gardening pot for next year.

We still have quite a lot of vegetables in the gardens, including all the pumpkins, so some of the teachers will still be busy over the summer break with the watering and weeding that is required.

The week went down hill from then though, as we had Goole's first confimed case of Swine Flu.....in our school! Though remaining open, we did lose a lot of children as parents decided to take them out of school to be extra safe. Then today, on the last day when we were going to have one final garden tidy up, the heavens {that had opened on Thursday evening} just kept on emptying. The whole school field and car park was completely flooded, so nobody got out at all! What an end to the school year!!

It has been a fantastic time with regards to the whole gardening story since January. We were chosen as a link school by the RHS and got started. Raised beds were quickly made and vegetables planted. We were awarded a Lottery Grant to create a Community Garden. We were chosen by The Independent on Sunday as their "Beacon" school in their own "Helping Children Grow" campaign. Our Community Garden was built and planted and opened. Our plants just grew and grew and grew! The TV came twice to check up on us and our ploytunnel was built. We were given a Silver Guilt winning garden by Marshalls PLC from the Chelsea Floer Show! Companies donated water fountains, solar water fountains, bird baths and sun dials to us. We won third prize in The Independent on Sundays photograph competition. Our scarecrows were created and put into our gardens - and they do scare the birds away {plus staff and children if you approach one without remembering one was there!} Children learnt how plants and vegetables grow, tasted them cooked them and ate them all! We weeded, watered and kept that cycle going for months on end!  Oh the joys of gardening at Kingsway are there to be seen every day of the year!

Well that is it for the Summer {if it does ever come!} I will start the Gardening blogs again in September, when it all starts from scratch again! We have got the launch of The RHS next campaign in October, where we will try to encourage parents and grand parents to come and work alongside their children during a themed gardening day. But until then..........
Happy Gardening
Lia
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Kingsway Primary School. Week 11. W/B 6/7/09 [Jul. 11th, 2009|08:44 pm]
kingswayprimary
Well, even before this week started, we had some wonderful news that Bethany Proctor had won 3rd prize in the Independent on Sundays garden photograph competition! We made a big thing of celebrating this in assembly on Monday morning with Bethany and for her winning a new raised bed kit for the school.

On the Monday, we started the BIG tidy up in preparation for our grand opening that afternoon of the Community Garden. By the time 1.00pm arrived, we had a crowd of about 50 parents around the gardens, waiting for the opening ceremony.
 Me, Mark, MP Ian Cawsey and children around water feature donated by Alan at "Designs in Stainless"

 Mark and Ian Cawsey

Mark from the Yorkshire Garden Centre was there, and soon our local MP, Mr Ian Cawsey arrived. We had the choir sing a couple of songs, I said a few words, the heavens opened {my singing again??!} and in the rain, Ian opened the gardens officially to a loud round of applause!! We all then ran like mad into the school hall, where we had stalls set up like a summer fair! We raffled off a BBQ, donated by the garden centre, which raised over £420 towards a water system for the community garden! The rest of the stalls raised over £700, which is going into a new gardening fund!! It was great to see Kippa, the photographer from the Independent, there to capture a great day.
On the Tuesday, our polytunnel was finally finished - and boy does it look fantastic. We cannot wait to start growing flowers, fruit and vegetables in there from September.
  WOW!!!!
On Wednesday, we had John Hickling, from the RHS in for the day. He basically carried out a full survey of all that we had done, set us some tasks over the next few months, and helped us plant some new pumkin plants with the children, as well as pulling up some more produce {onions, cauliflower, potatoes, leeks etc}.  During the day, we received a letter from the RHS, stating that we had achieved Stage 3 in the Campaign for School Gardening, which meant we had been awarded £500 in gardening vouchers from the Alan Titchmars fund!! How good is that - and thanks to Alan and the RHS.
 John and some of our visitors from other schools - all with goodies to take home!!
After school, John led a training session with 14 other schools - which was a great success.
On Thursday we had a bit of a rest.....but on Friday it all started again! We were being judged at 2.30 by the Goole in Bloom Committee!
We had another tidy up and put out over 20 scarecrows that the children had been making in class! It all looked truly fantastic in the sun. The judges arrived, led by a group of our children, and appeared VERY impressed by our gardens. One even said that we should enter separetely next year {and so be judged separetely} as this time we were just being judged as part of Goole in general. They gave nothing away - but did seem very impressed....!!
 The X Factor scarecrows

 Even more protecting our beds!

Over the week, I have been contacting companies to see if they would donate anything to enrich/enhance our gardens further. We have had an amazing response - already promised are some bird baths, sundials {a special brass RHS one looks great!} and some solar powered water features! I will let you all know wat they are like, and who sent them, when they all arrive.
Anyway, its time for a well earned rest over the weekend.
Happy Gardening!
Liam
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Kingsway Primary School. Week 10. W/B 29/6/09 [Jul. 3rd, 2009|03:44 pm]
kingswayprimary

Well, the heatwave has continued, and after hours and hours of watering the gardens, we have now decided we need to save up for a real watering system! Its amazing just how quickly the raised beds dry out!
However, we have had another very exciting week, with BBC Look North calling in to film us on Wednesday {see their website at bbc looknoth hull} It was a great piece and made both our children and lovely gardens look truly wonderful. We have also been mad busy "tarting" the gardens up for the Grand Opening on Monday afternnon at 1.15pm, with our Labour MP, Mr Ian Cawsey cutting the red ribbon!
This week has seen the harvesting of more potatoes {hundreds of them!} and the biggest and best onions I have ever seen. Lots more weeding has taken place, but the children are learning that weeds definately slow down their growth in the heat! However, we are desperate for rain for the first time ever at Kingsway - its this gardening bug, it drives you mad!
This week work continued on our poly tunnel - we just cannot wait to use it!

We have had a go at copying Marshalls "Living Wall "idea - not bad for a first attempt!!
 Community garden - all ready for grand opening! 
How good does this all look??
                      New benching around the tree

 
Our Frog water feature in full action! 

       
                                          Our new donated 1 metre high conical stainless steel water feature, from "Designs in Stainless" which arrived on Thursday and will be fitted over the weekend ready for our opening. A huge thank you to Alan Card, the director, for this wonderful feature which will be touched and admired by both children and adults for years to come at school!

On Friday, a brilliant team of 7 from Yorkshire Water's campaign, "One million green fingers" came to create a new large raised bed in our one remaining empty area. Here are a couple of snaps of the team ready to start, with wood, water butts, soil {all donated for free}but I had to leave for a meeting, so will have to post a finished picture next week!

Angela and some of the team from Yorkshire Water getting ready to start!
 Nearly finished!
Happy Gardening.
Liam
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Kingsway Primary. Week 9. W/b 21/6/09 [Jun. 26th, 2009|06:43 pm]
kingswayprimary
Well, what a week it has been! Firstly, because of the mini heatwave this week, it has taken us hours to keep on top of the watering! Hours and hours - before, during and after school!

During our Monday night gardening club, we set about harvesting our first crop of potatoes. The excitement and anticipation from the children was just amazing to hear and see! They were digging down the raised bed to see the results of the 9 seed potatoes planted. Down and down, but nothing. A bit further, and the shape of something peeping through the soil. Then more than one shape appears - how exciting is this gardening! We eventually pulled up 84 potatoes from the one raised bed!! Success, and a harvest that all were so pleased with.

The next day, all were involved in the cooking of the potatoes and sharing them out to the children. Even children who were not keen to eat potoatoes like this {they were not chips!} could not help but taste them - and I dont think there was a single child that did not enjoy the taste of freshly home grown harvested potatoes! Again, a real success! This is the real impact that gardening in school can have - by changing the way children see the food that is put out in front of them day after day - and then seeing how enjoyable and healthy it can be to eat. We can make a difference, by changing the fundamental way children see food, taste and eat it and finally  begin to "Help them grow!"

The rest of the week was not so exciting - plenty of weeding in all areas {vegetable and community garden}and thinnning out of crops throughout. Brian, our caretaker, ordered and received the wood to create the frame for our living wall garden - but he has been too busy to make it yet!

Plans have been made for the opening of our community garden by our MP, Mr Ian Cawsey on July 6th. We are going to have the choir sing some songs with links to fruit and vegetables, have a raffle for a BBQ donated by The Yorkshire Garden Centre, run a selection of stalls {tombola, bottles etc} and all come to school dressed for a £1.00 donation, in the theme of "Gardening"
All money raised on the day will go, of course, back into the gardening pot, to ensure the project is sustainable for a long time to come. Now, even though its Friday night, its back to my newly created {but as yet totally unsuccessful} rain dance so I can have a break from watering again on Monday morning!

Happy Gardening.
Liam
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Kingsway Primary. Week 8. W/b 14/6/09 [Jun. 19th, 2009|12:10 pm]
kingswayprimary

Well, after all the excitement of last week {with the RHS coming to see us, The Independent on Sunday coming to see us and Marshall completing their garden with us} things have seemed VERY quiet!
However, that does not mean things stop in the garden. Oh no! We had to play a little catch up with weeding and watering again this week, and as you can see from the photographs, everything is growing very well at the moment.
We also worked on our copy of Marshalls "Living Wall" idea this week - whereby we planted 450 plants into 9 special square planting containers. We let them grow a little in these and when Brian, our caretaker has the time {!} to attached them all to the outside of the staffroom wall, we will have our own living wall of plants growing! When up, I will post a photo to show you what it looks like!
This week, we also planted lots of flowers {donated by The Yorkshire Garden Centre} around our many beds and around the base of our two new fruit trees. We also pulled up and all children and staff tasted our carrots - just wonderful. The children were amazed not only how well they had grown, but  also at their size and sometimes, very funny shapes!
We all looked as well our large fern is growing at the moment - which looks splendid in the community garden:
 Fingers crossed, everything will still look as good for our grand opening on Monday 6th July!

We were very fortunate this week to have been given a quite wonderful water feature from "Designs in Steel" who make a vast amount of steel products for gardens. They donated to us a 1 metre tall hand crafted steel cone water feature, which will take pride of place in our sensory part of the community garden. Again, as soon as that arrives, I will add a phot to this blog.
Anyway, its off planting now in an extra bonus gardening session, to keep on top of the 1001 jobs that need doing!
Happy Gardening.
Liam
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Kingsway Primary. Week 7. W/B 8/6/09 [Jun. 11th, 2009|06:34 pm]
kingswayprimary
 

Well, this has probably been one of the most exciting weeks of the campaign so far!! Most of the excitement was on Wednesday.

We started the week off with Jeremy and his team from Marshall Plc coming to finish off planting the garden donated from the Chelsea Flower Show. The picture above shows the guys busy at work and shows the amazing amount of plants and trees donated! The garden looks really lovely, and the children really enjoyed seeing the "experts" constructing it all. We have planted any shrubs left over around the whole of the school! Thanks again must go to Marshalls, who have been absolutely fantastic to work with - and generous beyond belief!

On the same day that Marshalls were in, Kipper, the photographer from the Independent on Sunday, came for an update. Kipper's photographs are amazing, and he took loads of the children at work and at play in the gardens. We cannot wait to see his work in the Independent shortly.

Whilst Kipper was snapping away, we were really honoured to have Claire and a team from the RHS travel up from London to see us. We were delighted with the response from Claire regarding the work we had done with our gardens in such a short space of time - she seemed absolutely delighted with the impact that the "Campaign for School Gardening" and the Independent's "Helping Children Grow" campaigns had had on our school! As the "Beacon" school for the Independent on Sunday, I had to say that it had really made us just want to work with the children on creating the best possible outdoor learning environment that we could! Our children are learning more than ever before from a resource outside the classroom that has cost little to establish but is having a truly significant impact on their time in school! Will they remember this week their English, Maths and Geography lessons or will they remember going outside pulling up radishes and tasting them for the first time in their lives??!! I digress. Claire and her team were keen to work with the school on a range of new RHS campaigns for the Autumn Term. One of these is very exciting, and one which I think is fantastic. In the Autumn Term, the RHS is going to launch a campaign to get parents and grandparents working more in schools with the gardening. This is a great idea, and one that schools will be hearing more details about very shortly. Thanks to Claire and the team for making the journey to come and see us in action!

Our Polytunnel had a lot more work done on it this week, with the guys from The Yorkshire Garden Centre doing as much as they can before the monsoon that hit Goole arrived! As you can see below, it is really taking shape now.



Finally, we had one more important visitor arrive on Thursday - also from London! Emma, a reporter with the Independent on Sunday, came to visit for a couple of hours. She spoke to many children and my Gardening lead team of Brian, Haley and Kay. The children loved showing Emma around, and again were proud to show her and tell her all about the work they are doing. I cannot imagine the amount of quotes she must have got! Speaking to staff later in the day, they told me just how thrilled they were that Emma had made the journey up from London just to speak to them! That sums up the impact the Independent on Sunday's involvement with our school is having on people - it is that constant feeling of "WoW" all the time - someone actually thinks that what we are doing is good!
Anyway, it can only be a quieter week next week, when reality, watering and weeds will kick in again!
Happy Gardening.
Liam
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