Schoolkids plant seeds to learn

The group with the new vegetable patch
The group with the new vegetable patch

Pupils, teachers and parents pulled on their wellies to help prepare a vegetable patch for their school.

St Mary’s School in Haddenham is part of a Jamie Oliver kitchen garden project and with free school meals and curriculum changes in September, food education is taking a prominent role.

So a group of 30 got stuck in with their spades and forks last week to prepare the patch in its field.

With the help of caretaker Barry Poutney and outdoor learning coordinator Emily Jarvis, the patch was soon ready for planting.

Speaking at the dig, headteacher Karen Collett said: “We have potatoes planted at the minute but we are going to have all sorts.

“We want a real variation to properly teach the children about where the food comes from.”

The Aston Road school is preparing for the autumn launch of universal free school meals – for children in reception, year one and year two.

It will save parents about £400 a year per child.

Mrs Collett said: “We’re taking it by the horns and we want to do it properly here with the right ethics and in line with the school food plan.

“The whole idea is that the children learn where the food comes from. Grow it, cook it, and eat it in our school meals.

“But we needed a vegetable patch to do that. We do have three small beds but we needed something bigger.”

Mrs Collett secured the school’s place on Jamie Oliver’s scheme after she met a speaker for the chef’s food foundation at a school food plan conference in Greenwich.

She said: “Through her I got a contact to become one of the pilot schools.

“So we are digging the beds to allow us to grow the vegetables and hopefully in September use them as part of our school meals.”