Tonbridge special school hones gardening skills

The community project was backed by Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council, who provided the space, prepared the bed and purchased the plants.

The young people created their own design and chose the plants to add a splash of different colours at the entrance to Tonbridge Cemetery in Shipbourne Road.

Councillors for Castle ward Vivian Branson and Owen Baldock visited the students as they started the project, which will continue throughout the spring and summer.

Cllr Baldock said: “We’re proud to support such a worthwhile project that will benefit both students at Oakley College and the wider community.

“I hope that visitors to the cemetery enjoy the new planting. A great deal of hard work and learning has gone into the plant bed.”

Oakley College, in Waveney Road, is affiliated to the school of the same name in Tunbridge Wells.

It opened in September last year to meet the needs of young adults aged 18 to 25 with learning difficulties or disabilities.

It currently offers two learning pathways. A programme of study and work-related learning and experience will lead to further vocational training, apprenticeships and employment.

There is also a programme providing up to three years for young adults to continue to develop their personal life and independent living skills.

Horticulture is one of the subjects on offer for learning outside the classroom, while other topics include life skills and food technology.

Teacher Jackie Ellis said: “This project is part of the curriculum and aims to introduce students to new skills that will help them develop confidence and gain independence in a live working job role.

“The students have really enjoyed planning the bed by using design skills, sharing ideas and decision-making in selecting plants.”

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