Start a Growing Club at Your School


carrickfergus schools growing clubsGrowing areas in your school can be created with as little as a hanging basket up to more extensive gardening areas. Growing areas offer students the benefit of practical hands on activities, helping to motivate and enhance their learning experience. Gardening has many positive benefits, particularly in increasing younger children's likelihood of trying new fruit or vegetables that they have grown and all pupils' understanding of healthy eating.

Carrickfergus in Bloom supports the ethos of the government backed ‘Growing Schools’ & ‘Food in School’ initiatives’ by offering guidance to support schools setting up a successful growing areas and club and developing a positive link with the wider Carrickfergus in Bloom initiative.

Concern that young people have become distanced from nature has increased in recent years, with many not making the connection between the food they see in supermarkets and the land that produces it.

DOWNLOAD THE GUIDANCE AND APPLICATION FORMThis combined with a general lack of interest in food and what constitutes a healthy diet, means many pupils struggle to understand the interdependence between urban and rural environments, and the countryside with the wildlife and people it sustains. Carrickfergus in Bloom can address this issue by encouraging and supporting and inspiring all schools in the Borough (nursery, primary, secondary and special) to use the outdoor classroom, both within and beyond the school grounds, as a context for learning across the curriculum.

Pupils from Silverstream Primary School Growing ClubAttention All Schools: We would like to tell the world about your school vegetable patch. Just send in some text and photographs and we will publish your information on your own Carrickfergus in Bloom webpage.

Join the Schools Growing Club Initiative and download the guidance pack

To tell us what your school is doing click here.

To view your schools page click here. Not got one? Please contact us.

Get advice on growing vegetables

Early Years Get Growing: Download the new Get Growing! guide to growing in the Early Years setting.

Early Years All About Food: Growing Schools resource for Early Years practitioners, packed with information and ideas for activities and visits for young children, all linked to growing, eating and exploring food. Download Advice.

Get Your Grown-ups Growing?

GYGG is part of the Campaign for School Gardening. Schools are encouraged to host an event in October where grandparents, parents, carers and friends are invited to help in their garden. The first 2000 schools to sign up to GYGG will receive a pack which includes seeds, stickers and a poster for your event. Information to help you run/promote your event and ideas for activities on the day can be found in the left hand-side column. Schools with gardens can encourage adults within the community to help develop new areas such as a wildlife garden or help construct raised beds. A GYGG event can also see adults passing on their gardening experience to children by helping them sow seeds, plant trees and assist in weeding. For schools without gardens it’s the ideal opportunity to involve adults in the community from the very beginning to establish some form of gardening facility in the school. For both types of schools the event can even be used to raise funds by having a plant sale. To receive your ‘Get Your Grown-ups Growing’ pack visit the RHS website:

learn with carrickfergus in bloom

Using Gardens and Woodland as a learning resource is now a lot easier for parents and teachers with a resource pack available from Growing Schools. Growing Schools provides advice, inspiration and resources to support practical engagement by children and young people of all ages with food and farming, gardening and green spaces and wildlife and the natural environment. Growing Schools activities are of real value to children of all abilities, but can be a particularly powerful approach to engaging and developing young children who struggle with formal classroom learning. For further information click here.

Other Resources

Download a Dig for Victory Teachers' Pack

Campaign for School Gardening Photo of the Month

Download Learning Outside the Classroom Manifesto: DFES publication setting out a vision to enable every young person to experience the world beyond the classroom as an essential part of their learning and personal development or watch the video on YouTube.

Watch a video called Watch Us Grow by Teacher TV.

External Link: RHS grow your own VEG

love your school grounds in carrickfergus

model primary school growing clubWhy love your school grounds?

School grounds are at the heart of the school. They are vital for:

love your school grounds in carrickfergus Learning and discovery
love your school grounds in carrickfergus Physical health
love your school grounds in carrickfergus Social confidence
love your school grounds in carrickfergus Emotional well-being
love your school grounds in carrickfergus Community engagement
love your school grounds in carrickfergus Nature and sustainability

External Link:


Eat, Taste and Grow: The Public Health Agency officially launched Eat, Taste and Grow in June, a new interactive curriculum based education resource to help increase awareness among primary school children of the origins of their food, local produce and the role this plays in healthy eating. As research in 2006 showed, 18% of children aged 2–15 years in Northern Ireland were reported to be obese; and provisional data in 2008–2009 showed that 22.5% of children entering Year 1 were already overweight (17%) or obese (5%).* The launch of Eat, Taste and Grow is an innovative collaboration between the PHA and safefood that will provide children with lifelong lessons about the food they eat, healthy eating options and the benefits of an active lifestyle. The free teacher-led CD-ROM resource will be sent to every primary school across Northern Ireland by September 2011 and will help increase awareness among primary school children of the origins of their food and local produce, and the role this plays in healthy eating. Link:

New report: Every school a food-growing school: This report, complied by a coalition of gardening and education charities, report on school gardeninghighlights the benefits of food-growing activities in schools and makes the case for the Department for Education ensuring that every school provides the opportunity for children to reap these benefits. Find out more and download the report.

RHS Get Your Grown-ups Growing: The RHS Campaign for School Gardening initiative has introduced an exciting new project ‘Get Your Grown-ups Growing’. To host a 'Get Your Grown-ups Growing' event and invite grown-ups to help your school develop your school garden, sign up now for your free resource pack.

Research on School Gardening: New research published by the RHS shows as well as helping children lead happier, healthier lives today, gardening helped them acquire the essential skills they need to fulfill their potential in a rapidly-changing world and make a positive contribution to society as a whole. Download A vital tool for children's learning: Gardening in Schools.

Impact of gardening on learning: The above RHS report is a summary of the findings from a piece of research carried out by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER). They were asked by the RHS to assess the impact of gardening in schools. They surveyed 1,300 teachers and conducted an in-depth study of 10 schools. Download Impact of School Gardening on Learning.

Alan Titchmarsh Award 2010

Alan Titchmarsh Award The Campaign for School Gardening Alan Titchmarsh Award has been re-launched for 2010 and is now open for submissions from schools on a first-come, first-served basis. Alan Titchmarsh came to Wisley on Thursday 16th April 2009 to launch the 'RHS Campaign for School Gardening Alan Titchmarsh Award'. Due to his kind generosity and his passion for involving children in the natural world, the Nation's best-loved gardener is supporting the funding of school gardens.

What is the Award? The RHS Campaign for School Gardening Alan Titchmarsh Award is to is to encourage and support schools that have reached level 4 on the Campaign's Benchmarking Scheme with an offer of £250 of National Garden Gift Vouchers (NGGV) to develop further their garden.

The Playground Potting Shed: A Foolproof Guide to Gardening with Children: A Fool Proof Guide to Gardening with Children (Hardcover) Get Your School Growing!

Enter the exciting new Royal Horticultural Society's (RHS) competition and win some fantastic prizes for your school. Design a new growing space in your school grounds, for a budget of 500, and you could win 500 of gardening resources plus five days help from a trained horticulturist to develop your design into a flourishing growing space at your school. The top school will also win a visit from Chris Collins, the Blue Peter gardener, to help implement their plans. To enter go to the RHS website

free seeds for schools