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Barking primary school aiming to create secret garden for pupils

PUBLISHED: 07:00 17 November 2017

Pupils and PTA members of Gascoigne Primary School show off the area that they would like to develop into a secret garden

Pupils and PTA members of Gascoigne Primary School show off the area that they would like to develop into a secret garden

Archant

A Barking primary school is trying to raise funds for its green-fingered youngsters to have their own garden.

Gascoigne Primary School’s parent and teacher association, known as Family Representatives of Gascoigne School (Frogs), are helping to create a secret garden within the school’s grounds.

Work is already underway, with a few planters and compost already purchased, but to make the most of the opportunity, more money is needed.

Family liaison practitioner, Kelly McKinnon, explained: “The garden will be a tranquil space within the school, where children will have the opportunity to learn about nature, grow flowers and vegetables, and learn how to start up a new enterprise, through the sale of the produce they have grown.”

One of the school’s governors, Himanshu Jain, has already secured £1,500 from Barking’s Rotary Club.

But Kelly hopes to raise “as much as possible” to expand the garden’s capacity, including installing a shed to keep their equipment in.

“One of our teachers has set up a Go Fund Me page, and we’re planning to put any money raised from our Christmas bazaar towards it as well,” she said.

Kelly emphasised the need to have somewhere to teach the youngsters - many of whom live in flats - how to garden.

“It’s very important,” she said. “I think a lot of children are losing the skills of how to grow things from scratch.

“Our aim is to get families involved and teach them what a valuable skill this is and not only is it very rewarding, it is also better financially.”

The garden will be created behind the Year 5 classrooms, and the nine and 10-year-olds are supportive of the idea.

Lily Cole said: “The area is really plain and it is not being used and, if it was possible for more people to donate more money, then the area could be brightened up.”

Tasfia Tahsnim added: “No other school is as big as Gascoigne but our playgrounds have too much space for play areas and not enough quiet and relaxing areas. This is why we desperately need our secret garden.

“With the vegetables we are hoping to grow we can create new meals for the whole school to enjoy.”

To donate towards the garden appeal, visit gofundme.com/build-a-secret-garden-year-5-class

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