This article talks about why the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) developed an award for schools, and expresses the importance it holds for every child in education. It also breaks up the award, so it can be seen what is involved and why it is a valuable award to have in schools.

In 2007, RHS launched their campaign for school gardening as a result of the government's proposals to change and improve child care, which was known as the 'Every Child Matters' programme.

The RHS asked the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) to look at the importance of gardening in schools. Their research showed how important gardening is in helping children to develop.

Photo by Royal Horticultural Society

RHS School Gardening Award: The Importance in Schools

This award has provided thousands of schools with a structure to help assist teachers deliver fun and engaging lessons. Through this award it has been proven (through NFER's research) that young individuals have improved their lives through being exposed to this, as they become; ready to learn; resilient; and responsible (the 3Rs of school gardening).

"The RHS is to be congratulated on providing support and encouragement to schools to ensure that gardening continues to contribute to children’s learning, health and overall well being."

Dame Gillian Pugh - Chair, Cambridge Primary Review and the National Children’s Bureau

Award Levels

This reward scheme is made up of five different levels, which a school can do. There are levels one to five, and once each level is completed, the schools will receive a reward.

In achieving each level, you must:

  • Level 1 - Write 80 words about your future gardening project
  • Level 2 - Write 80 words about your gardening activities and take four photos showing the developments
  • Level 3 - Write 200 words about a small project or activity (e.g. composting, wildlife with the garden, exploring a curriculum topic through the garden resource) and take four photos to show your activity or project
  • Level 4 - Write 200 words about using your own produce within your garden, a cross curricular project or a garden enterprise idea. Require six photos and supporting documents (e.g. recipe, poster, lesson plans)
  • Level 5 - Write 300 words about your gardening project or event that has involved the local community, and six photos or a short film (up to five minutes long) that shows the project/event

Within each of the levels you will have:

  • Achievement checklists
  • Rewards
  • Support and advice

For more in depth information about how other schools have completed their journey of the RHS School Gardening Award click here.

Photo by Royal Horticultural Society

Getting Started

If you are interested in finding out about gaining the RHS School Gardening Award, then speak to their team by clicking here.