The "Secondary School Challenge" scheme launched last autumn and more than 70 children aged 12-15 have taken part from schools across Surrey, Middlesex & Greater London.
The schools had two projects to choose from: ‘Creating a School Garden’ or ‘Growing Your Community Garden’. Each team was allocated a mentor from either Squire’s Garden Centres or RHS Wisley to help them plan, develop and design their ideas. Each school team presented their ideas at a final assessment day on 2nd December at RHS Wisley. Prizes were awarded for teamwork (won by Surbiton High School), innovation (won by Notre Dame School, Lingfield), best pupil’s choice (Sir William Perkins School, Chertsey) and best overall project (Bishop David Brown School, Woking).
The four winning schools were awarded a Raspberry Pi time-lapse photography kit and gardening vouchers, whilst the children received a selection of carnivorous and cactus plants to take home.
Kay Clark, RHS community outreach manager, said: "The RHS does a huge amount of work to ensure primary school children have access to the educational and wellbeing benefits of horticulture. We are committed to school children, whatever their age, having access to horticulture, and that is why we launched the Secondary School Challenge.
"The Secondary School Challenge is a fantastic opportunity for children to work with the RHS, which has some of the best horticulturists in the world, and gain invaluable insight into the diversity and importance of the horticulture industry."
"We chose to partner with Squire’s Garden Centres as they are passionate about plants and about introducing horticulture to young people – Squire’s staff have really helped ignite the children’s passion for gardening."
Squire's deputy chairman Sarah Squire said: "This programme has been so successful that the RHS are considering launching similar projects in other parts of the country next year. We want to encourage more secondary school children to become aware of how great the horticultural industry really is, and to realise that there are fantastic and very diverse career opportunities at companies like Squire’s Garden Centres."