Hands-on learning at Windmill Community Allotment for Post-16 Laleham Gap students

Mr Ursell and pupils at Windmill allotments

Post 16 students at Laleham Gap School in Ramsgate have ended term one’s theme of immersive, hands-on learning at the Windmill Community Allotment.

Teacher Paul Ursell took them to the Dane Valley allotment as part of their healthy living project.

Mr Ursell said: “I take my students to places like this because it really concentrates their learning. In terms of growing your own food, cooking a healthy meal, how and why to recycle and the enjoyment of so doing, they can learn more in an extended morning here than multiple lessons in a classroom.”

After an informative tour of the site students were in an educated position to harvest plants, from different chards to kales and marjoram and chives, and even borage to wilt down for a frittata. Alongside making lunch pupils learnt about the precious nature of water and why it was collected and why wildflower meadows are vital for pollinators. Students were shown how to replenish stocks by potting cuttings and seeds effectively – some for the allotment and some for students to nurture at home.

Lorna Kane, from the allotment, said: “It was a pleasure to spend the day with such enthusiastic students, learning how to sow, harvest and cook together and, of course, tasting the produce.”

The variety of experiences brought learning to life and made it fun. Even the sensory experience was invaluable. One student exclaimed after smelling yet another plant (lemon verbena): “This is an allotment of sensational smells!”

Mr Ursell said: “It was great to see my students immersing themselves in understanding the advantages of a healthy lifestyle and of being thoughtful about the environment.

“As they take this knowledge forward it will help them personally but also when we think of issues like climate change it will help the planet. Even helping Lorna cut up and compost the egg carton underlines the importance of being environmentally aware. A really crucial life skill.”


  1. Well done for arranging this Paul and so pleased to hear it was a success. All students – regardless of abilities – should spend more time in the real world and learning things from a practical point of view.

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