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Explore the Garden


“Every young person (0-19) should experience the world beyond the classroom as an essential part of learning and personal development, whatever their age, ability or circumstances.”

This vision statement from the Learning Outside the Classroom Manifesto is the inspiration for this unique Growing Schools Garden.  It was launched at the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show , winning the Tudor Rose award for best in show and now has a permanent home at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. It was created by Chris Beardshaw, with the help of thousands of pupils across the country.  This garden is distinctive because young people have not only provided the inspiration, but have also designed and made many of its features and grown some of its plants. 

Learning outside the classroom is about direct ‘real life’ experience. It is not only about what young people learn, but more importantly how and where they learn. It can take place anywhere, in grounds of the school or setting, in the local area or further afield.
It adds value to classroom learning; not only helping to raise achievement, but also supporting the development of key life skills such as problem-solving, co-operation and communication and offering opportunities for creativity, challenge and adventure.

Since 2001, Growing Schools has been encouraging and helping teachers to use the outdoor classroom as a resource across the curriculum for pupils of all ages and abilities.  It focuses particularly on food and farming, and, through experiencing the natural environment, encouraging young people to take responsibility for its care and protection. In addition to bringing Growing Schools to life, the garden also has clear links with Sustainable Schools and Every Child Matters

Introduction to the manifesto and the resources

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Learning Outside the Classroom Manifesto (2MB)

Explore the Resources

Launched in November 2006, the Learning Outside the Classroom Manifesto aims to encourage more widespread use of educational opportunities away from the classroom and to inspire schools, and those organisations that support learning outside the classroom, to provide high quality experiences for all children and young people. More than 950 organisations, including schools and local authorities, have signed up in support of its vision and aims. If you believe learning outside the classroom is an essential part of every young person’s education, sign up now, by following the link to the right.

If you cannot visit the Growing Schools Garden in person, this inspirational resource will allow you to experience its variety and take away ideas to make learning outside the classroom – within the schools grounds and beyond - a daily part of your curriculum. As you wander through this virtual garden you will discover case studies from participating schools, fact sheets on how to develop areas in your own school, video testimonies and a rich resource library including information on support organisations and places to visit.

Contributors to the garden

growing schools
The Department for Children, Schools and Families would like to thank the participating schools; the many organisations who gave in-kind support; Chris Beardshaw and Frances Toase whose fantastic design and expert advice created such an inspirational garden for schools; Mary Jackson, Amber Sorrell and Julie Mountain from Learning through
Landscapes who project managed the gardens; Bill Graham and Peter Carne from Farming and Countryside Education who provided education expertise; Rosemary Ward who provided horticultural advice and content for the resource; Andrew Gibson and TwoFour who created this rich and exciting resource; and James Wheeler and staff at Birmingham Botanical Gardens for giving the Growing Schools Garden a permanent home.