Southlands School, North Tyneside – Long Willow Garden
Meet the Long Willow Garden Team
2016/17 Student Team
Callum Robert Jamie
Kris Jack Sam
2016/17 Staff Team
Mr Sean Kirkup
Lee Mc Nulty
Workbased Assessor, Kirkley Hall
Heading for a career in horticulture
One of the young people at Southlands Special School, North Shields, who has been part of our Horticulture Scholarship, has been accepted on a full-time course at Northumberland College at Kirkley Hall, Ponteland.
Sam McClean, aged 17, has been part of the scholarship since September 2016 and has clearly shown the potential and commitment to take the next step towards a career in horticulture.
The scheme, organised and funded by The Children’s Foundation, started at Southlands Special School in 2014 and is also now running at Walbottle Campus, Throckley.
Each project involves between six and eight Year 10/11 pupils (aged 13 to 15) and is an opportunity for them to develop their skills outside the school environment and meet their full potential.
For some, like Sam, it gives them the impetus to go for a career in horticulture.
The Southlands Project is extremly successful with a new group of students embarking on the scholarship every year since 2014. The impact of the project has been monitored by the school and has proven very promising with the following feedback:
- PSD Scores – Prior to the project for both interaction and attention the scholarship students recorded very low average increases in their scores, significantly below their peers. After a full three terms of the project their interaction and attention scores were significantly higher. In the case of interaction the students had made over seven times as much progress as they had over the previous full year, whilst for attention their progress was over two and a half times more. Interestingly the gardening students progress significantly outstriped the progress of their non-gardening peers for both of these strands.
- School attendance – The Scholarship has made a great difference to the attendance of one of the students who completed the course, and his poor attendance was pretty notorious in school. Since starting the scholarship it really picked up, it seemed he was able to make a connection between the skills that he was learning and how they would be useful to him once he finished school. This particular student ended up with three college options as the Scholarship made it really clear to him which direction he should be aiming for with his future.
- Behaviour – One of the students who regularly exhibited challenging behaviour, really settled on the Scholarship program and it was something that he found quite therapeutic and even relaxing as it was not academic (which is something which caused this student numerous anxieties), we never saw any challenging behaviour, great attitude and excellent attendance.
- Future – At the start of the course one student had issues with anger management and concentration in lessons. He had already identified that being in the garden helped him to stay calm. He is now very confident and has spent a great deal of time in the garden before completing the level 1 course. He is a good organiser and usually willing to help out. He likes to engage younger students in the garden and has a very caring attitude to everything living. The actual qualification is very important to him, he has said often that he would like to do a level 2 qualification as he has the confidence in his skills.