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In action: Piper Hill Specialist Support school

03/06/2013 by Green Schools

Piper Hill Specialist Support school, Manchester, is a school for young people aged 11-19 with severe learning difficulties. They have been part of Green Schools Revolution for around 18 months.

Austin Duxbury, a teacher at the school, says his students have been incredibly responsive to a variety of sustainability projects, from recycling batteries to running a Fairtrade shop. Here he writes about their successful recent food growing projects:

“The school recently moved to a new site and this opened up a lot of opportunities for the students to really engage with sustainability and what this actually would mean to them.”

”There was an area of land at the back at the school which was ready for development so one of the first things the students did was to make a list of what they wanted to do. Raised beds were put in and a range of fruit and vegetables were planted. The strawberries were gathered and used in food technology to make smoothies whilst the leeks and potatoes and courgettes were used to make a winter soup which was sold to raise funds for the environmental education group.”

”The students from the Further Education department were responsible for gathering the crop and preparing it to sell, as well as marketing the soup. This was a fantastic way for the students to experience first-hand the connection between growing food and then eating it. Before they took part in this many of them said that soup came from a can, now when we ask them they can tell us soup comes from the school gardens.”

Students at the school have also taken an audit of plants and trees and contacted their local park to gain advice on encouraging birds and animals that they can observe from the classrooms. Another recent success has been the “Recycle Your Batteries” campaign, started by the Y13s. After only three weeks of campaigning the school had managed to collect nearly 180 old batteries which they then took to a local supermarket to re-cycle there.

They hope to be able to save even more batteries from going into land fill sites in the summer term.

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