Theale Green School pupils head groundbreaking project to create outdoor wellbeing garden
A two-year school garden project is now half way to completion.
Pupils at Theale Green School have been working hard to transform an old swimming pool into an outdoor wellbeing space.
So far, they have completed two wildflower areas, 10 vegetable and flower beds, restored woodland paths and a new garden clubhouse, and they plan to keep adding more.
Head of art and technology Andrew Wilson assembled a group of willing pupil volunteers for their project back in 2021.
But before they could plant anything, work was needed to clear the sheds of old boxes and PE equipment.
Once this was done, the pupils could design, modify and decorate these for use as a shed and clubhouse.
Mr Wilson says the early days were not without their challenges.
“When we started, a few students wanted to start planting straight away,” he told newburytoday.
“I gave them a set of plants in little pots, sent them on their way to dig and plant.
“Weeks later, I’m looking at these same plants wondering why things were not progressing well.
“Sadly, I discovered they were still in the little pots, so could not grow!”.
Notwithstanding the odd hiccup, their hard graft has yielded great returns, with around half the site now being complete.
The team recently added raised flower, fruit and herb beds for the technology teaching kitchens.
But a firm pupil favourite has been the collection of photos found inside the old sheds – some dating back 40 years – which are now on display in the new garden clubhouse.
“It is truly amazing to see what our students have achieved, with just a little direction and lots of good will,” Mr Wilson added.
“It is also great to see them socialising and enjoying the space.”
He also said the clubhouse has achieved the highest attendance figures across the whole school over the last two years.
“I currently have around 80 students on the register.
“Average attendance is 30 plus every week, which includes students with SEN and PP indicators.”
The garden is open to pupils on Thursday lunchtimes and increasingly more after school on Fridays.
Future planned additions include a patio area, more seating and steps.
The project was funded by West Berkshire Council, Amazon UK, Thames Water, alongside substantial donations of money, plants and equipment from TGS parents and Englefield Plant Nursery.
The school thanks everyone who has donated and encourages anyone interested in donating to contact its staff.