Thrill and excitement filled the air on 3rd July 2017 when The Countess of Wessex, visited students at Baston House School in Bromley, Kent – an Outcomes First Group centre of excellence in education and development for children aged 5 – 19 with an autistic spectrum condition (ASC) – to congratulate them on winning the Alice Street Trophy for the beautiful school garden they created.
Dignitaries Anna Kennedy (OBE), Autism Ambassador for Outcomes First Group; Councillor Kathy Bance MBE, Mayor of Bromley; Colonel Robert Murfin TD DL, Deputy Lieutenant of Bromley; Jane Bailey, Director of Education LB Bromley and Anthony Comben, Chairman, London Children’s Flower Society and Roger Colvin, Group Chairman Outcomes First Group also lined up to applaud the students for their terrific achievement.
The Countess’s visit, as Patron of the London Children’s Flower Society (LCFS), followed the official presentation of a silver trophy by gardener and TV presenter David Domoney and Master of the Worshipful Company of Gardeners Paul Rochford at The LCFS Trophy Ceremony in the Livery Hall at London’s Guildhall last October.
The beautiful wildlife-friendly orange, yellow, red and purple cottage garden created by 20 of the 65 8-19 year old learners from Baston House and overseen by Cai Draper, Outdoor Learning Instructor, features a wonderful array of sunflowers, marigolds, poppies, snapdragons, stocks, nasturtiums, raspberries, potatoes, carrots, beetroot, tomatoes, french beans, borlotti beans, parsley, chives, mint. Other students from the school helped by watering and tending the garden.
Baston House students also made sure that the garden they created had a low environmental impact by making 4 compost bins and a wormery to dispose of food waste from the school, using water from a butt rather than a tap and seeds saved from the previous year and others kindly donated by the LCFS. Fruit, vegetables and herbs are regularly harvested and used in Food Tech lessons.
Commenting on the visit and her student’s brilliant achievements Sally Pettitt, Placements Manager, Baston House School, said, “A Royal visit is ‘a first’ for us – the students were absolutely delighted! At Baston House we strive to provide effective specialist education and support to pupils on the autistic spectrum and to their families, enabling pupils to achieve their full potential in education and in life outside school. Our goal is to break down the barriers to learning that our students encounter and to help them equip themselves for as independent a life as possible outside of school. Royal recognition of our beautiful school garden created by our students is a fitting tribute to them and the great life skills they have acquired here.”