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Smithdon High School

Students plant a sustainable future

Our students have been sowing the seeds for a more sustainable future thanks to a partnership with a community project.

We are in the midst of creating a brand new garden which will act as an outdoor science classroom and enable our students to learn more about a range of subjects from where food comes from to soil nutrients and attracting insects.

The garden area is also making use of donated items and time, including from the Sandringham Estate and The Queen. Local companies have also helped bring the project to fruition at the landmark school. “We are so grateful for the donations from local businesses including East Coast Gelato, MJ Large, World of Fun, James Johnson, Rounce and Evans and Rainbow Amusements, these have helped to get this fantastic project started, the pupils have really enjoyed the chance to learn outdoors” said assistant head teacher Mrs Claire Chapman. 

Crops will be grown and harvested from the new courtyard garden area and from September, we will be supported by the Papillon Project which promotes sustainable living and environmental awareness for young people.

We are delighted to be getting help, guidance and advice from Matt Willer, the founder of the Papillon Project, to make the garden the best sustainable space it can be for our students’ enjoyment and education.

It will be a space where we can make direct observations, take samples and measurements and conduct experiments. It will also help to support and further develop our curriculum. Our food technology department will use the garden to help students develop a better understanding about where their food comes from and to grow ingredients they can use in the kitchen.

Aside from the benefits of learning outside, students will also be able to enjoy lunch clubs and after-school activities based around the garden. There will be outdoor science lessons and the area is already home to three tractor tyres being recycled into planting beds.

The tyres have been donated by Alex Child, of the Doubleday group, and they have already caught the students’ attention and instigated discussion about recycling and the scale of modern farm machinery.

Members of Year 7 have been sowing sunflower seeds and will be competing in a bid to grow the tallest in school. They have been helped by a delivery of topsoil donated by local businessman Steven Johnson and delivered by Justin Aldis.

Our Year 8 students are also involved in the Solana Seeds UK Schools Potato Growing Challenge. Last year we were awarded third place for skin-finish and quality for our first lockdown-grown potatoes that didn’t quite get all the care they needed.

But we are aiming to improve on that this year with the help of our fantastic new growing space in two raised beds.

The Papillon Project is an educational charity that promotes sustainable living and environmental awareness for young people. It works with schools and colleges in Norfolk to inspire students to grow their own food and use upcycled materials. More information can be found here: