The Land Based Studies course becomes a part of the curriculum in Year 9. It provides pupils with an introduction to Land Based Studies and provides them with the skills and independence needed to attain their BTEC Land Based Studies Certificate during Years 10 and 11. The school has a well-appointed poly tunnel and vegetable garden, as well as wooded areas and a sensory garden, in which pupils can hone their green fingers. The main objective in Year 9 is to get pupils thinking about the seasons and how they can affect and dictate tasks to be carried out at specific times. The course is designed around the schools 10-week Units, as these loosely follow the seasons. At the start of each Unit, pupils recap the importance of tool and equipment safety. During each lesson, pupils are required to think about and discuss the possible risks of the tasks.
- Off-site educational visits to The Out of Town Centre at Beaulieu, where pupils learn more about the course in a small farm setting
- Trips to local gardens and nurseries to learn about different aspects of Land Based Studies and career progression in this area.
In Unit 1, pupils prepare the vegetable beds for winter by emptying the compost bins and double digging the new compost into the vegetable beds. They learn how to sow winter vegetable seeds in trays and how to create and maintain the schools winter hanging baskets. Pupils use wooded areas to learn and practice basic pruning techniques.
In Unit 2, pupils plant out their winter vegetables. They carry on with pruning tasks, learn about the importance of weeding, and maintain the school grounds and sensory garden. Pupils will also plant spring bulbs and woodland trust trees around the school site.
In Unit 3, pupils continue weeding and maintainence of the school grounds and sensory garden. They plant out early seed potatoes and shallots. Pupils study different soil types and their uses, and plant more vegetables and flowers from seed.
In unit 4, pupils continue to weed and maintain the flower beds around the school. They plant out the spring vegetables, and create and hang the school summer hanging baskets. Pupils also harvest any ripe vegetables grown throughout the year, and can taste and take home samples of their hard work.
Pupils are required to give peer to peer feedback, and self-assessment, alongside constructive feedback from staff. There is no formal written assessment for this course until Year 10, although pupils do complete worksheets and diary entries, which are marked for spelling and grammar, in preparation for the BTEC assessments.
Parental support is crucial to enhance pupil learning. Parents can help their child by:
- encouraging their child to help with gardening tasks at home, big or small
- discussing flowers and the use of colour in floral displays
- ensuring their child brings some clothes and wellies or boots for gardening in on the appropriate day