The small patch of ground outside the Guided Learning Unit at Bruntcliffe School is currently looking a little bare – but it won’t stay like that once summer arrives.
The pupils who attend lessons there have big plans for it and they can’t wait to see the results of the hard work they’ve got in store.
They’ll be planting their own vegetables including corn, potatoes and asparagus as well as plenty of flowers and there’ll be some general sprucing up of their garden area with a lick of paint and some decorations.
And once they start harvesting their crops they’ll be straight into the unit’s kitchen to test out their growing culinary skills.
“Last year we made jam, leek and potato soup, lasagne and shepherds pie,” said pupil Jake Barker.
“We made gingerbread on Monday, just to brighten up the mood,” said classmate Natasha Davison.
Jake and Natasha are just two of the Bruntcliffe pupils making remarkable academic progress thanks to the specialist unit. Its restructuring has already earned praise from Ofsted inspectors – but the wall full of thank you letters from its pupils in the office of headteacher Heather Scott proves that they’re not the only ones who are impressed.
As well as specialist teaching to help the children with their academic lessons they are taught how to get on in everyday life – and growing and cooking their own food is just one part of that. But it’s clear they love their lessons as well. At the moment they’re enjoying reading Roald Dahl.
“James and the Giant Peach, that’s what we’re reading at the moment,” said Jake.
“Book are really fun. I love it.”
They’re also enjoying their computer work and recent learning projects, which have included ancient Egyptians - a brilliant excuse to dress one of their fellow classmates up as a mummy.
There’s also plenty of extra curricular activities and they’ve recently taken up curling. They won their first match 3-2.
“It’s just like a family here,” said Natasha. “All the teachers are here for us.I want to be a play leader in hospital so I want to go to college and do childcare.
“Guided Learning has really helped me. I have struggled a lot in school but I’ve really caught up. I love school!
“I have met some good teachers, some wonderful friends and I’m getting really good grades.I will need extra maths so I can work at an extra level.”
Natasha is eventually hoping for a grade C. With such determination and enthusiasm she’s very likely to achieve it.