Vocational Outdoor Learning

Our Own Market Garden

Braunton VOLE (vocational outdoor learning environment) has been developed over several years by Mrs Popple, and gives students the opportunity to get their hands dirty, learn about horticulture and see the fruits of their labour being used. At present, all year 7 students spend time on their own allotments in 6 week blocks on a rotational basis. They learn about food production from sowing seeds, nurturing plants and eventually harvesting their produce. They grow potatoes, parsnips, carrots, salad leaves and herbs to name a few, and the produce is sold to the canteen and the staff. The students also manage a compost heap, and peelings, used teabags etc. are collected regularly from the food tech room and other areas. Nursery plants are also sometimes sold to staff, and this has proved to be a very popular and lucrative enterprise, raising funds for new seed stock, tools and other necessities. The students have the benefit of working in the fresh air and learning skills which will not only enrich their lives, but also stand them in good stead should they choose a horticultural pathway in later years.

Currently, the VOLE comprises a polytunnel, large growing plot, and an outdoor classroom which is available for all teachers in the school to use. It is a popular venue in June and July and competition between teachers to book the space can be intense!

Students who choose vocational studies for one of their KS4 pathways are given the opportunity to work towards a horticultural qualification, and all year 9 students will soon also have the chance to do so.