PUPILS at St Laurence School in Bradford on Avon are learning how to grow their own fruit and vegetables.

St Laurence Grows is part of an enterprising outdoor education project to teach pupils countryside and horticultural skills.

They are learning how to grow tomatoes, courgettes, squash, chard, potatoes and purple sprouting cabbage and in September they will also be taking on chickens.

On Monday, some of the pupils taking part were presented with a £450 cheque from the Conservation Foundation and a Wessex Watermark Award.

The cheque and plaque were handed over by Wessex Water’s education advisor Gillian Smith. The pupils were keen show her what has been achieved so far and talk about their plans for the future.

The project is being used primarily though not exclusively, by some pupils with additional education needs. Horticultural training, planting a wildflower meadow and practical skills such as coppicing will be taught. Some pupils will have the opportunity to learn beekeeping skills.

The school said: “Our aim is to teach the importance of biodiversity and environmental sustainability by introducing students to traditional countryside skills.

“We are lucky to have an available site in part of the school field for the raised beds for the vegetable garden plus the new polytunnel, kindly donated by our School Association.

“Our students will not only learn how to grow vegetables, but will run a small commercial enterprise and sell their vegetables to members of the staff.

“In this way we hope to make the garden project sustainable. Our Watermark Award will help us establish the raised beds and a rain-water harvesting system, which is greatly appreciated!”

The Watermark Award provides funds for environmental projects within the Wessex Water area. Now in its 25th year, it has supported over 900 environmental initiatives.

Organised by The Conservation Foundation, all projects are judged by a panel chaired by its President David Bellamy.