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Copleston High School

Winner of Suffolk's Greenest County Award!

The garden and allotment offers students the chance to extend their personal horizons through a greater appreciation and understanding of the world and people around them.  They have the opportunity to explore the importance of sustainable relationships between people and the environment as well as enhancing skills such as problem solving, team work, communication and leadership.

The project offers opportunities for students to work with members of the community allowing them to find their own sense of self, create their own set of values and beliefs whilst forming opinions of the diverse world and environment they live in.

We believe all students have their own uniqueness and gifts and through opportunity and exploration we can help them find their individual strengths and valued place amongst society.

The project supports the curriculum along with personal development of students through lessons, after school clubs, mentoring, the Eco-committee and working with community groups.

Curriculum links – Examples are:

  • Science - Plant Science, RHS Rocket seed
  • Maths – Volume of raise beds, profit loss of growing and selling products
  • History WW1 Dig for Victory, medicinal plants
  • RE –Meditation
  • PSHE –Healthy lifestyles,
  • English – Creative writing
  • Food Tech – History of our fruit and veg/ready steady cook/nutritional benefits of vegetables.
  • Geography – Ecosystems in the garden – Sustainability-Fairtrade
  • DT – RHS Garden Design Challenge / Using the garden for inspiration to design
  • Art – Botanical drawings, life drawings


Our students who require extra support both academically and emotionally are encouraged to develop both personal and practical skills that will assist them during their school career and o in future life.

Through activities such building a recycled garden, constructing a pizza oven, making an African keyhole garden, students have been able to; Understand the need for safe working practices, work in a team, resolve conflict to achieve a successful outcome, improve communication and listening skills, have self-discipline, whilst establishing leadership skills and improved self-confidence.


The Eco-committee encourages students to take care and pride in the school community, wider community and world we live in.

We advocate this through;

  • Encouraging sustainable practices and lifestyle
  • Encouraging wildlife in the garden and allotment,
  • Talks in assembly
  • Litter picks around the school
  • Community conservation with Greenways
  • Events such as Fairtrade fortnight


The garden offers a calm platform for mentoring to take place. This happens in a number of ways with different groups or individuals.

  • Transitional groups – peer mentoring
  • Life skills - Group mentoring with Mrs Newey around personal development and behaviour
  • Individual – With Mrs Newey around progression/performance, behaviour, personal development.

Garden Clubs

After school clubs allow students from a broad spectrum across the school to meet socially learn new skills and participate in a less formal style. The youth club feel to the group allows students to communicate freely, break down any social barriers, share experiences and support one another while they enhance and maintain our gardening sites in the school.

Students obtain a real sense of pride and achievement from seeing their hard work flourish in the form of flowers and veg thus making them feel a valued part of the school community. Our yearly hanging basket enterprise is very popular with our staff and year on year our sales grow.

Our Garden Club students have made a significant contribution to the success of the project and the awards and recognition it has received. For us the greatest reward is seeing our students grow in confidence , engage in learning and form new friendships.

SMSC Supported through the project

Through a variety of activities the project promotes Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural development.

Spiritual – The garden and allotment encourages a sense of deep and critical thinking about the planet, nature and wildlife exploring how everything is connected and works in harmony with one another. It is a place where students can reflect on some of life’s fundamental questions and see the cycle of life through nature and plants. It offers quiet reflection and a chance to make new friends from different ages backgrounds and identities in a safe calm, nurturing environment.

Moral- Our Fairtrade event encouraged students to be global citizens supporting communities other than our own. Fairtrade demonstrates how our daily choices can have a positive impact on a community working to banish poverty through dignity thousands of miles away. Students are encouraged to make moral decisions about everyday daily items purchased. The Environmental Committee asks students to think about the rights and wrongs of damaging our environment and the consequences of not caring for it.

Social – We encourage this through working with community groups such as Greenways Conservation project preserving local heathland; St Augustine’s Church preparing and serving lunch to the elderly produce grown from our allotment as part of Food share; Taking part in British Food Fortnight promoting and celebrating our Suffolk agricultural heritage and working with the local children’s hospice, feeder primary schools and paediatric hospital school at Heath Road Hospital.

Cultural- The project celebrates our British heritage finding out about British produce and locally sourced foods, supporting local economy and being proud of Suffolk’s agricultural roots. Our work with British food fortnight was rewarded by meeting HRH the Duchess of Cornwall at Birmingham Cathedral for a harvest festival event.

 Students explore cultural influences around the food we cook and eat along with the diversity of ingredients available for us grow in our school garden. They also learn about staple foods of other countries.

Learning with the Royal Horticultural Society

RHS Green Plan Challenge

Following the success of our ‘Rocket seed ‘experiment we have linked up once again with the Royal Horticultural Society.

This challenge is supported by an industry mentor as students work as a team to design a new green space either in the community or in our case the school. Using a range of materials and media to bring their ideas to life students will learn about the importance of plants to people and places in real world contexts. Supported by an industry mentor, students will work as a team to design a new green space, using a range of materials and media to bring their ideas to life.

Students will compete against local schools and present their designs to industry experts at a celebration event.

The Green Plan It Challenge has been designed to be student led, allowing them to explore community needs and environmental issues, which means that it has broad curriculum relevance in subjects such as Science, D&T, PSHE and Citizenship.

RHS Rocket Science

This project is aimed at inspiring pupils to think scientifically and help them to see the potential of future careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering& Maths) and Horticulture along with providing the European Space Agency with key insights into some of the challenges of growing food in space.

Copleston students along with other schools around the country were invited to spend 35 days monitoring the growth and development of two batches of seemingly identical rocket seeds. However, one batch of seeds had spent time in space with British astronaut Tim Peake on the International Space Station, orbiting the Earth at 17,000mph. 

The seeds were sown in controlled conditions following the RHS guidelines.

Students took it in turns to water, measure, monitor and record findings on a daily basis. At the end of the 35 days the data analysed and a conclusion draw as to which seeds the student believed had been to space.   

RHS Benchmark Scheme

This scheme gives students the opportunities to learn basic horticultural practices whilst encouraging links with the curriculum.

Each level of the scheme sees students working through set criteria in order for the school to be accredited each award. We have successfully reached the top award at level 5

In order to obtain the levels we have we have shown how our garden and allotment involves the local community, is sustainable using recycled and environmentally friendly methods, encourages wildlife,  enterprise initiatives and demonstrates practical skills performed in a safe manor.

  • Students have built wooden raised beds using a range of tools following Health and Safety Guidelines developed by them through risk assessing.
  • Grown from seed flowers for hanging baskets costing and selling for enterprise
  • Learnt how to recognise plant diseases and pests and learning control methods  using homemade environmentally products or companion planting
  • Made Jams and preserves with produce for enterprise
  • Mentored younger students from local primary schools
  • The importance of different ecosystems within the garden and the vital role each one plays.


This year the project collaborated with ‘GroundEast’ formally EastFeast on a transitions project working with two local primary schools. Through a range of activities Copleston Students supported the younger students working on outdoor and classroom activities involving wildlife and growing. This work supports


Runner up in CO-OP Green schools award

British Food Fortnight regional winner – Meet HRH the Duchess of Cornwall

Suffolk’s Greenest School 2015 – Meet Chris Packham

Level 5 RHS Benchmark Scheme

Awarded £8,000 funding through Tesco bags of help scheme to make our memorial garden accessible to all, user friendly, and to encourage more outdoor learning. Some of the money is also supporting 3 local groups with gardening activities.