The Groundsman

November 2014

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IOG BEST PRACTICE 17 the Groundsman November 2014 Visit www.iog.org for more information and digital editions and break new ground in the education of young people by establishing a vocational course that could also embrace groundsmanship via the IOG Apprenticeship scheme. Louise adds that Richard was also invaluable in initiating the support she received from companies such as Harrod Horticulture, Sports E-quip and Browns, while grants from Capital Growth and Hillingdon Borough have also helped in the subsequent purchase of the polytunnel and soil, gravel etc. "Richard has also fully supported us on our various fact-finding trips to Twickenham and Wimbledon as well as to the SALTEX exhibition," she adds. Student engagement The course is based on City & Guilds Horticultural Skills and is facilitated by the IOG's Apprenticeship scheme. It started with a choice of 61 units (Level 1) and has seen modules added to suit (Level 2 units include plant biology, soil science, organic vegetable growing and machinery maintenance). In turn, the course framework also meant that Louise had to learn about groundsmanship - from scratch – gaining accreditation herself to Levels 1 then Level 2 (the latter achieved at the same time she was studying for a degree) and in turn she became qualified as an IOG assessor (for ongoing assessment of the students) with, she says, "plenty of support from the IOG in terms of the training and my understanding of groundsmanship". Having spent the past 15 years teaching (business studies, maths, English) and before that at a specialised unit for excluded students, Louise says the introduction of the Level 1 course, on a single allotment plot, began with small, basic modules for the eight students as part of a special needs programme. "The aim was to give the students a sense of achievement and with them being involved in every aspect of the course – including constructing the plots – they really took ownership of the project. It was clear that becoming a 'team' changed their self-belief." This encouraging start soon led to the expansion of the course, with modules added including scarification, overseeding and an understanding of two-/four-stroke engines. Likewise, the number of allotment plots expanded and the success of the project meant the course became part of the academy's curriculum for any pupil aged 14 or over. The bespoke package of learning and teaching resources has been put together by Louise. Continued success then led to the development of the new area, adjacent to the playing fields. In addition to the allotment area, a large storage shed/classroom (erected and maintained by the students) is on site alongside the polytunnel, and the students are also developing a special garden of reflection and a vegetable growing site. The aim was to give the students a sense of achievement and with them being involved in every aspect of the course they really took ownership of the project. It was clear that becoming a 'team' changed their self-belief " " t Tutor Louise Dunton (above) doesn't hesitate to 'muck in' with students (below) on the allotment plots

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