They are called The Nurture Group, so what better activity for students with special educational needs from Swanlea School Business & Enterprise College than to learn how to care for plants and seeds – with a bit of entrepreneurship included?
Eighteen students from Years 8, 9 and 10 spent the morning of 17 May taking part in the Blooming Colour Challenge, delivered by local education charity Tower Hamlets Education Business Partnership, and supported by Spitalfields City Farm, teaching staff and school governors. Tower Hamlets Sustainable Development Team also supported the event by providing wildflower seeds for the students to plant.
The challenge was to work with a budget of £10 per team and to buy individual items, including containers, soil, plant food and flowers/shrubs to make up a planter. Along the way, the young people also received tips and advice on how to design a display and look after their plants.
The finished products will be displayed around the Whitechapel school and eventually find a home in the school’s new garden which is under construction at the moment.
“I liked the seeds and the pink plants but I hoped we didn’t find a worm,” said Sabirah Rahman. “I learned that plants need air and water,” said Farhian Hussain, proudly holding up his team’s planter.
Swanlea’s Head Teacher, Brenda Landers has no doubt about the value of a project like the Blooming Colour Challenge. “It is a mixed ability group and they learn a lot of important life skills – how to work together and rely on each other, an idea of what work opportunities might be out there for them plus it has given them a sense of fun.”
Leader of Learning, Special Educational Needs,MayaIyer added: “We need to look at a creative curriculum for this group. Something like this is ideal. It’s tangible, something they can get involved in and see the practical results of their success.”
Tower Hamlets Education Business Partnership runs a range of enterprise activities in the borough’s secondary schools with events tailored to meet the needs of different student groups.