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School Garden Partnerships a guide to good practice

The benefits of both school gardens and partnerships with other schools are well known. These two elements can be brought together in a garden partnership that can help us make our garden a focus for global education in our school – a window on the world – through the common language of growing plants. This guide shows how you can make a good garden partnership which benefits our students, our school, and our community, wherever we are. bringing the global dimension into the outdoor classroom

Developing a keyhole garden at Rwabagabo Primary School, Mubende, Uganda © Food for Thought

Contents When can our garden be called a global garden? How can our school garden become a global garden? Why have a garden partnership?

1 1 2

l Benefits for learning l Benefits for schools and communities... and the world

What can a garden partnership do for us? How should we prepare for a garden-based partnership? How should we communicate? How can we learn together with our garden partner?

3 4 6 7

l Comparing gardens l Exchanging materials l Doing joint activities l Empathy role/play activities l Joint campaigning l Fund raising

Managing our garden partnership 9 Ideas for physical technologies & techniques which may help represent your partner in your garden 11 What can we learn in a garden partnership? 12 â—? Gardening and food l Your curriculum l Local knowledge, identity and culture l Global citizenship l Personal and social education l Skills l Values and attitudes l Learning by the school

Linking of gardening tasks with broader food and development issues How do we know if our garden partnership is working?

14 15

l Checking against initial aims l Mutual benefit l Measuring learning within the programme l Frameworks for monitoring and evaluation l Using evaluation to move forward



When can our garden be called a global garden? l When it is a window on the world: helping us to see and understand people and places l When it makes global issues visible: by looking at the plants in it we are reminded of people around the world l When it makes us think about global issues: our gardening reminds us of producing food, conserving resources, social justice and sustainable development in different places

How can our school garden become a global garden? l When we use it as an outdoor classroom to teach and learn about the world l When we plant and learn about crops which are important to people in different places l When it has structures, tools and other features which show gardening and farming in other regions l When our gardening activities are used to learn about sustainable development l When our garden is the place which links us with partners nearby and overseas l When what it produces is used to learn about food preservation, trade and consumption around the world l When we use the garden to get ideas about how we can contribute to a positive global future

Pupils showing off their produce, Vidya Valley, Pune, India Š Centre for Development Education, Pune


Why have a garden partnership? Introduction The benefits of both school gardens and school partnerships are well known and these two elements can be brought together in a garden partnership. It works in two ways: l Partnerships can help us make our garden a focus for global education in our school – a window on the world. We can ask, “What can our partnership do for our garden?” l Our garden can provide a basis to make partnerships more productive – a global common language. We can ask “What can our garden do for our partnership?” We can also ask: l What can our garden partnership do for our students, our school, our community and our world? People everywhere need to find or produce food. Students, teachers and communities anywhere can grow crops, and gardens can be a link between rural and urban areas and between different parts of the world.

Benefits for learning The key to a successful educational partnership is the idea that we will learn from each other. ‘Global gardening’ gives us tools to help us with teaching and learning. Our outdoor classroom, with its practical activities and less formal setting, can help all students to engage in a world-wise education. We will also become more self-aware as we improve our communication skills, speaking and listening to partners: real people with real-life information. The soil and water that we manage, the crops we grow and the methods we use can become a medium for understanding the wider world. Our garden partnership will support and enrich our teaching of curriculum subjects. In particular it will be a vehicle for global citizenship education, environmental management and conservation, and sustainable development and living. It also helps us think about food security and healthy lifestyles.

Using gardens as a basis for partnership, or focussing a partnership on gardening, is quite new, but has very real potential benefits for education and learning, for schools and communities. See Appendix 3: Resoures, p20, for programmes to find partnership schools.

What does a ‘garden’ mean to us? It means slightly different things around the world, and depending on how we live – a city or town, a farming area, a pastoral or hunting community – the garden will have a different form. We need a flexible idea of gardens – an outdoor space where plant or animal food (and perhaps medicines and other useful products from plants) is grown. In many cases this will include natural features (eg trees) as well as those which we plant. It will often be important for our garden to reflect the environment and land-uses of the place where we live.

Benefits for schools and communities... and the world A garden partnership can be set at the heart of a school, as a core activity. If it is embedded in school life, it will enhance the school’s identity and profile, becoming a bridge between local community and the wider world, with the garden a common ground for local and international knowledge. It can be the place where students, staff and community come together and engage with real global issues of sustainability, climate change and social justice.


NB These notes are intended for use by schools anywhere in the world. They have been prepared for partnerships between two schools. However, with minimum adjustment they should be useful for partnerships involving more than two schools.

What can a garden partnership do for us? When ‘us’ = our school, our students, our staff, our community, our world. This is really open-ended and depends on your interests but here are some examples which may be useful.

For our school l Make us more global (or more national) in our outlook l Give us a broader image and profile l Make us a better and more lively learning environment l Internationalise our classrooms l Improve our environmental management and sustainability

For our students l Motivate and excite our students l Build knowledge and understanding of… food, diversity, environment, social justice and global interdependence… l Develop practical, social and/or communications skills l Promote concern and interest in global issues, and empathy with other people

For our staff l Provide additional, exciting and relevant learning material l To build capacity and confidence to teach about global issues

For our community l To involve out-of-school groups and individuals in the school l Promote understanding of the school’s objectives in global education, l Link our out-of-school community with that of our partner

For our world l Improve understanding of our common humanity and tolerance of diversity l Reduce prejudice and xenophobia l Link people and communities who would otherwise have little contact and knowledge of each other l Make links between our local area and the wider world

For our partner l We will only know this when we get going with partnership activities. The ‘us’ we think about will grow to include our partner


How should we prepare for a gardenbased partnership? There is an opportunity for wide involvement of students and staff. In a large school, more than one teacher should be involved and the endorsement and backing of the Head is very important.

Have some preliminary discussions in your school to gather feelings and ideas about a garden-based partnership. Some of these questions might be asked: l Would we like to link our garden with another school’s garden? l How might this affect our garden and school? l Would other schools be interested in our garden and what we do there? l Would we like to connect with a school in our own country or in another country? Where would we like to link to? l What sort of things might we learn about? If the results of this are positive, you need a coordinating group to manage the garden partnership. This core group will decide, in more detail, on these things: l What sort of partnership do we want – what type of school and where, with a time limit or open-ended? l What do we think we want to get out of it? What would be interesting for us? l Who should be involved (which students, staff, parents, governors, others) and who will do what? l How will big decisions be made? How will the programme be led? You may have a partner school already or you may be linking through a special programme. However, if you do need to think about choosing a partner, you may want to consider things like: l Part of the world – climate and environment l Languages used in education and everyday life) l Religion, culture and how people make a living l Rural and urban areas. Remember that schools differ a lot. Some are quite independent and flexible, while others are part of more rigid education systems. This

Pupils preparing the school garden for planting, Kakenzi Primary School, Mubende, Uganda © Food for Thought


will affect what they can and cannot do, and what you can expect in a partnership. Also remember that there may be big differences between your school and others in your own part of the world – you may not have to go very far to find a different kind of school! When setting up a partnership you need to have some discussion in your own school and with the partner:

in our school Do you need to get permission from government authorities? It may help to have the local education authority’s endorsement.

contacting and discussing

Exchange some preliminary information about each other (produced by you and your students) and your ideas for a garden partnership:

You may want to conduct an ‘audit’ of your garden and school grounds. For an example of this see 8http://apps.rhs. resources/planning/beforeyouhaveagarden/ default.aspa

l What type of school you are; your term dates and calendar of events; compare curricula l The area and background of your students; which age groups you think might be involved l Your growing seasons Agree on which important features about l Timescale for partnership... etc. your garden, school and community would be interesting to your partner. Share first thoughts, ideas, expectations This could be done as a class activity and concerns. Decide whether or not to throughout the school and is a valuable go ahead! learning process. Review what you get back from the other school and get agreement on whether and how you should proceed. If you agree to go ahead discuss and think about the following in your school:


with our partner

l Objectives for the partnership l Values – what you want to get from it; how you will learn from each other l How big decisions will be made in your school and with your partner? Who will be responsible for coordinating the garden partnership l The age groups and other people to be involved l Communication – who will be responsible for this and how it will be done l Time scale and when you will review the progress of your partnership. It is important to be realistic –what will you and your partner have time to do? Might there be problems with communication?

After thinking about these things in your school, agree with your partner on the following: l Objectives for the partnership l Values – what each school hopes to get out of it l Equity – establish principals of equal ownership and leadership of the partnership l Communication – how this is to take place, how often, by what means etc. l The timescale, when and how the programme will be reviewed. Initially the agreement might be quite modest. It is better to achieve something small than risk ‘failure’ to achieve something too ambitious. It may be a good idea to have a simple written agreement so that everyone can see what is hoped for in the partnership. This could take the form of a joint certificate or brochure for the partnership.


How can we communicate? When you think about how to communicate with your partner, remember that some methods may be easier for one school than the other, and this may lead to one school ‘leading’ the partnership. It is likely that more than one method of keeping in touch, exchange, and working together will be used. Not all methods are equally good at doing everything and communication may be a challenge – which in itself is a valuable piece of learning. You may also need to think about communication within your school and with your local community. Notice-boards, assemblies, newsletters and email may be effective in getting information out. Newspapers and TV may be good to publicise your partnership further afield.

Make a plan and schedule for communication. There should be regular contact but you need to be realistic about how much each school can manage. You need to find ways in which you can: l Get to know each other’s garden, school etc l Send materials to each other l Follow what happens throughout the year and how food is produced (see next section for more detail on gardening activities) l Work together to plan and implement joint learning activities You can review the communication means available to you and your partner.

Postal system Postal services vary a lot in different countries, but for students to receive and handle ‘real’ materials (letters, documents, students’ work, CDs, photographs, videos) makes a big impression and is valuable Larger items may be difficult to send and some schools may not have a budget for postage so how it is to be paid for needs to be thought about.

Telephone and electronic means Telephone, SMS and fax are more ‘immediate’ and speaking directly makes contact more personal; for short messages SMS texting is now perhaps the most widespread technology available. Mobile/cell telephones have opened up new possibilities where land-lines were unreliable or nonexistent. However, their use is sometimes expensive and there may be no easy way for costs to be reimbursed. Having a dedicated mobile phone in your school for the partnership might be possible. Email, social networking, blogs, video-conferencing and internet websites are becoming available to much of the world (about 25% of the world has internet access) but this is not evenly distributed and only 7% of people in Africa, for instance, have access to the internet at the moment. Also, access speeds vary considerably and, where these are poor, information must be sent and received in smaller packages. There may be a danger of one partner dominating a relationship if they have better internet access. Access is not just a question of computer equipment but also the management and control of its use.

Personal visits – by teachers, students and/or others Partnerships often get a great boost when visits between schools are possible. The people visiting will get a greater understanding of their partner school than is possible in other ways. Personal relationships are established and commitment to the partnership is often reinforced. Materials can also often be exchanged more easily when carried personally. However, if your partner is in another country it will normally only be possible for a few people to participate in exchange visits so it is important that the visitors return and share as much of their experience as possible.


How can we learn together with our garden partner? The suggestions in this section are ideas and opportunities to be explored. Garden partnership is quite new as a concept and there is plenty of room for innovation. Be modest in you aims initially and try to ensure that participation and benefit is equal for both partners. Remember to think about the two-way flow – partnership to garden, garden to partnership.

Comparing gardens This may be the starting point for your partnership. You can agree on a format for this, eg explaining your garden design and describing soil, water, crops, pests, tools used. l Descriptions of how the gardens are used and what they are for l Images of the whole gardens, different parts and activities l Written material about the garden or local food issues l Artwork done in or about the gardens l Data on crop growing relating to the gardens l Recipes and cooking of garden products When your own material is put alongside your partner’s, you can compare and ask more questions.

Exchanging materials Deciding what to send can be a surprisingly interesting activity. It involves a discussion of who you are, how you live and how you can show this through materials related to your garden, school, community etc. This means reflecting on your own way of life and trying to see things from the point of view of others. Think about what you can send: l Written material – garden diaries and records, lesson/activity ideas classwork l Images – garden areas, structures and activities, outdoor and indoor school areas l Maps and artwork – garden plans and designs, other drawings, paintings, sculptures l Artefacts – tools and instruments; other articles which illustrate your gardening, learning and lifestyle When you have received materials from your partner you need to decide how to respond. Your response needs to encourage further exchange by saying how interested you are in what you have received and asking further questions. Read through your response before you send it – would you like to receive it? How can you best use the materials you have received? Working with each other’s materials is a way of getting closer together. Give some thought as to how it can be seen and used by the rest of the school. Is it possible for all teachers to see the materials so they can make connections with their lessons? Are there any classes or groups who can use it in programmes of work they are doing?

Doing joint activities

Sunflower Helianthus annuus, native to Central America

Doing things together is a step up from just exchanging. Find joint activities you can do with the means of communication you have available. You might try this after you have made a few exchanges and you have got to know each other a little and you have some idea about what each of you


can do. You may want to try simpler activities to start with. l Planning gardening activities together l Sending ideas and challenges for each other’s garden l Doing the same or similar gardening activities at the same time l Planning and preparing simultaneous garden displays, presentations and events using each other’s materials l Doing the same classroom activities and comparing results l Doing research together: experiments, data collection and enquiry and comparing results l Planning lessons for each other l Using the same instrument of analysis (like the ‘compass rose’) to look at the same issues, or to compare circumstances l Organising debate, perhaps where ‘proposers’ and ‘opposers’ are in both schools l Organising a community of enquiry to explore important issues identified by the students (as in the ‘Philosophy for Children’ approach, l Question and answer sessions, if you have a way of directly talking to each other

Boiling water on an improved wood burning stove, Uganda

Empathy roleplay activities You can do activities in your school which require your students to understand your partners, their interest and perspectives on gardening skills, food security, pests, climate change etc. These may be discussions or dramas, where some students are required to ‘be’ your partners. Your partnership may be the starting point for better understanding of other people (‘imaginary partners’) in other places. News items, images and other materials can be the trigger for empathising with other people around the world. Your garden partnership will offer opportunities for ‘Mantle of the Expert’ approaches,

Joint campaigning If you find that you and your partners share an interest or concern about certain matters of social injustice or need, there may be opportunities for organising joint action such as lobbying leaders or raising public awareness.

Fund raising There has been much discussion about fund-raising and the role it may or may not have, especially in ‘north-south’ partnerships. Most agree that any learning partnership should not be based on a one-way flow of financial assistance because this can reinforce the “charity” model of development – that the answer to global poverty is for ‘rich’ people and countries to give to the ‘poor’ – rather than a social and economic justice perspective. It’s important to learn that the causes of poverty are often things like over-consumption in wealthier countries, unfair trade rules and unequal access to land and resources. However, fund raising may be considered in a well-established relationship, if a special need arises and if students have a good understanding of global inequalities. It can be represented as both schools dealing with a problem and for this reason it is good to get both schools contributing something as and when they can. Students at Melwa, Kenya Eden Project Gardens for Life


Managing our garden partnership When your partnership is set up there are some things to think about to get the most from it. Some of these are to talk about in your school and some are to discuss with your partner.

in your school


Think about how events and materials resulting from your partnership will be disseminated throughout your school community.

Decide when and how often you are going to communicate. This should be regular but be realistic about what you can both do.

Is everyone in your school aware of your partnership? What can you do to make it more visible?

Exchange materials and information; communicate and learn together as you have planned.

Who is going to produce the materials to exchange? Which age groups will be communicating? How students can be encouraged to take part?

For more on joint learning see What can we learn about in a garden partnership?, p12.

How can you spread the benefits (the information, materials, ideas) to everyone?

Plan your gardening activities to show some of the typical crops and methods in your area. (See table)


with your partner

Manage your garden to represent your partner and their garden/school/area. You will need to review the materials you receive from them. They may use specific methods which you can adopt. What else could be put in your garden – signs and interpretation, pictures, artwork, artefacts and tools, other structures?

Put other people (staff, parents, governors, gardeners, neighbours) in touch with each other as and when you can. See the next section for more on communication. Share garden records, images, stories etc. What interests your partners? Discuss the gardening activities to share. Exchange advice and ideas for your partner’s garden. Answer questions. Understand the gardening and food issues in your own and your partner’s areas. Which ones are the same, or different?

Students on their roof top allotment, Children’s Academy, Malad, Mumbai Eden Project Gardens for Life


Prefect (far left) trains pupils in making a contour ditch for water and soil conservation, Kyamukoona Primary School, Mubende, Uganda Š Food for Thought

decision-making and local support


How will the management group lead school and garden activities? Regular meetings may be necessary. Big decisions need a larger number of people to discuss. Are there other links in your area? There may be people from the country or area of your partner school living near you. There may be local residents who have worked or lived in your partner’s area. How will the management group and/ or coordinator ensure activities in your school and garden are being carried out as planned? How will you ensure that values and benefits are being maintained and objectives realised Ensure periodic reviews of the programme are planned from the beginning.


Meeting notes can be shared. There can be direct contact between management groups in each school. There can even be combined votes on some decisions (with allowances made for different school sizes). How much do you need other members of staff or officials to be involved? Give the results of your assessment to your partner to review together. Look for ways of doing a review together. For more on monitoring and evaluation see How do we know if our garden partnership is working?, p15.


• barriers/living fences • deterrents/scarers • companion planting • beneficial creatures • cultivating tools

• composting & using manure • mulching • erosion control • rotation • inter-cropping • agro-forestry • digging tools, eg hoes



• raised/sunken beds • bags & containers • keyhole gardens • roof gardens • grain/food stores • toolsheds

garden structures

Garden Partnership


crops • integrated pest management • solar dryer • hay-basket cooker • efficient stoves & ovens

• roof & ground water • catchments • rain gardens • drip irrigation techniques • tip-taps

Ideas for physical technologies & techniques which may help represent your partner in your garden

What can we learn in a garden partnership? Gardening and food

The learning possibilities for a garden partnership are almost Crops and production methods (soil, water and cultivation), the harvesting, processing, cooking, eating and trading of produce are likely to limitless and it can become a huge educational resource be at the heart of your communication. Students will come to understand more about their own and their partner’s local issues of the food chain and for your school. Much of the learning will be practical and food security. outdoors and activities can be linked to models of education Your curriculum based on rights, critical thinking The ways in which school gardens can support the teaching of most and philosophy etc. A garden curriculum subjects has been well-explored and demonstrated – see the partnership provides a way Schools Global Gardens Network’s website ( of connecting the local to uk). If there is a specific agriculture component in your curriculum. The the global, and providing an partnership will offer an added global dimension. education relevant to both. It is also excellent for experiential Local knowledge, identity and culture learning, developing views, The school garden often becomes a common ground for school and local opinions and appropriate action. knowledge to come together and gives a focus for community exploration, Learning in the garden and description (and sometimes transformation). It may serve to raise the with a partner is likely to be very status of knowledge about the production of food and those who have it. The partnership helps to give students an outside perspective on what they enjoyable and motivation may be less of a problem than in see in their own community. other classes!

Global citizenship The collaboration and joint learning of a garden partnership will enable many aspects of a global citizenship to be addressed:

social justice and equity global citizenship sustainable development common humanity and diversity values and perceptions

inequities in food production and distribution, access to power and resources: the partnership can lead to consideration of these in different parts of the world how personal actions relate to the wider world: the role of young people in taking responsible action and how the world exists as a single community can be addressed environmental, social and economic aspects of climate change, biodiversity conservation, water management, energy sources: these are issues which concern gardeners on a daily basis common human needs for good and adequate food: understanding the common experience of producing and consuming food, putting differences between people around the world in perspective understanding different perceptions arising from different circumstances and challenging stereotypes: being involved in a joint learning partnership will mean developing more nuanced and tolerant attitudes to other people, cultures and environments

Personal and social education Garden partnership can play a part in the social and emotional aspects of learning. Ways of living together, and appropriate, healthy lifestyles, can


be explored through understanding partners, and being a member of a gardening team.

Skills Crop growing and animal keeping skills will be developed through the partnership. The organisation of gardening and the partnership itself will also help the development of co-operation skills and the ability to balance interests and resolve conflict. Understanding partners’ perspectives will improve students’ ability to empathise with others as well as their communication and presentation skills.

Values and attitudes Japanese wineberries Rubus phoenicolasius

Being part of a garden partnership will promote an appreciation of food production and the need to value the soil, water and labour which are necessary. Working together with others – in the garden and in the partnership – will generate concern, tolerance and respect for others. Taking responsibilities within the programme can promote self-discipline and a sense of duty. The following values can also be enhanced: l A sense of identity and self-esteem l A commitment to social justice and equity l A value and respect for diversity l A concern for the environment and commitment to sustainable development l A belief that we can make a difference

Learning by the school A garden partnership can also be part of a strategy to reduce a school’s environmental footprint. For example, the eight ‘doorways’ of the UK Sustainable Schools programme: food and drink, energy and water, travel and traffic, purchasing and waste, buildings and grounds, inclusion and participation, local well-being and the global dimension.

Pupils wheelbarrowing manure for new beds, Geoffrey Field Junior School, Reading, UK



• food consumption • food preservation • trade • food security • social justice

investigating soil • recycling nutrients • soil erosion & degradation • land ownership • human rights • sustainable development


• mono-cultures • pest management • ecosystems & biodiversity • conservation • pollution and invasive plants



sowing & planting


managing the soil

• seasons & choice of crops • irrigation • climatic zones • climate change

• origin of crops • ownership of genetic material • health & nutrition • wealth & poverty • social justice

Linking of gardening tasks with broader food & development issues

How do we know if our garden partnership is working? Checking against initial aims

Ideally, monitoring and evaluation should be done If objectives have been agreed at the start of the partnership you will be together with your partner, able to assess progress against these. although separate assessments However, frequently unanticipated and promising opportunities and ideas could be done and then arise, and you should make sure these are recognised – some of the best exchanged for comments. outcomes may not be foreseen. A really successful partnership What did we want to achieve? How much have we done? The objectives, as would have a single evaluation agreed at the outset, can be reviewed on a table like this: document to which both are signed up. There are a number What we wanted to what we’ve done of ways of measuring success.

do: the objectives our partner we agreed on



Alternatively, two intersecting circles can be used. The growth of the intersecting area can be an indicator of the development of the partnership.

our partner



This can be done in a participatory way: students can write points on cards and then place them on the appropriate section of the diagram; or all comments could be read and assigned collectively. Follow this up with a discussion of which things need to be focused on or changed.

Mutual benefit Positive outcomes should be experienced by both partners sides. If only one partner feels that it has really benefitted, the partnership cannot be said to be working well! However, benefit may have been felt in different ways. As above, a table or a venn diagram can be used to evalaute ‘What are we getting from the partnership?’ The ‘together’ section can be monitored for growth.

Emmer wheat Triticum dicoccum, domesticated in the Fertile Crescent 10,000 years ago


Measuring learning within the programme School are experienced in assessing learning using both objective and open-ended methods. In a programme like a partnership where outcomes may be diverse and unanticipated, and covering understanding, skills and values, methods such as mind-mapping will be useful. Starter prompts can be written in the middle: • Our partners – what do I know? • My food and the world – what’s the connection? • Our garden and what I have learnt After being involved in the partnership you can expect students to have more material to put on the diagram. It should also be more informed and specific. For a visual representation of learning, the second time the same mind-map is used by the learner a different colour pen can be used. Some schools are very small

Classes in the UK are small Schools in the UK are big and all teaching is done with computers

There are rich and poor people

All people in the UK are wealthy

Some people in our country are richer

All schools have computer and internet Our partnership with xxx school in the UK

The capital is London and there are many other big towns Most of the UK is a big city with many high buildings

In summer days are long and it is not so cold

The UK is a very cold place

It rains all year

Much of the UK is used for farming Most farms are big

They eat more vegetables

Some people They don’t have much to eat

There are dry and rainy seasons

They have interesting ways of growing food

Many foods are the same as in the UK

In towns and cities there are big shops


They don’t have shops to buy food, also markets for many people in rural areas grow much of their own food


Our partnership with xxx school in Uganda

Poverty in the world is a result of many things

Some people are poor in Africa

This is not fair

Others are quite wealthy

There are mountains, volcanoes, rivers and dry areas in Uganda

There are many wild animals in some parts of Africa – mainly in protected areas

The exercise can be partly structured for example:

where my food comes from

what I can do about my food and the world my food & the world

the different types of food I eat

what affects what I eat

Frameworks for monitoring and evaluation You can agree on a simple frameworks to monitor indicators and evaluate impact with your partner (see overleaf). Each can be used for reviews of both positive and less successful areas. • What have we achieved? • Which things are going well? • Which things could we improve? The third column in each grid is optional but is an opportunity to try and capture overall partnership benefits.

To review learning in the garden partnership This may need to be done for different ages and groups.

particularly for our partner

particularly for our school

the partnership

knowledge & understanding skills values & attitudes To assess the garden partnership’s wider impact on school and community

particularly for our partner

particularly for our school

the partnership

learning school community


To record progress towards sustainability

particularly for our partner

particularly for our school

the partnership

environmental social economic To record development impacts This may be suitable where a garden partnership is seen as part of a wider development programme. The impact areas are drawn from DFID’s ‘livelihoods’ approach to development.

particularly for our partner

particularly for our school

the partnership

natural & environmental human social & cultural economic & financial physical Assessing learning: who is learning what from the partnership? You may not need any special activities to see change and progress in students’ learning in the areas of understanding, skills and attitudes. Indicators of learning will be evident from the way in which students engage in garden partnership activities:

space Look at the quality of exchange and materials produced, and any engagement in joint learning activities


knowledge & understanding Do materials prepared demonstrate a growing understanding – of your garden, of your partner, similarities and differences etc?


values & attitudes

Is there evidence of empathy and understanding your partners’ viewpoint: appropriate language, few local references etc?

Is there an enthusiasm to communicate and engage in dialogue with partners? Is there genuine interest in materials coming from the partners?

Listen to discussion and the way students speak of the partnership

Do students increasingly show an awareness of: wider food issues (locally and internationally); seasonality and climate variation/change; poverty, hunger, social justice and the Millennium Development Goals?

Are desirable skills being developed and used, eg listening, logical argument, reasoning, problem-solving, reflection, accuracy, relevance, drawing conclusions?

Do students want to use the discussion and thinking skills they are developing? Does discussion take into account and respect partners’ perspectives? Is the word ‘we’ sometimes used to include partners? Is any concern for diversity and interdependence , social justice, etc demonstrated?

Observe behaviour in the garden

Is there a developing knowledge and understanding of crops (and the rearing of animals) and their global importance?

Are gardening skills resulting from the partnership practised? Are the planning, implementation and communication of the garden competently accomplished?

Is respect for each other and different opinions shown? Do you see growing confidence in planning and planting? Do students show an appreciation of the value of food plants?

Using evaluation to move forward Although interesting, the full value of doing an assessment will not be realised unless the results influence the development of the partnership: • Which are the really productive partnership activities which should be built on? • Should certain areas receive more attention in future? • Are some opportunities being missed?

Watering sukuma wiki, Igwamiti Primary School, Kenya KYCEP/Eden Project Gardens for Life


Resources The Schools Global Gardens Network’s website provides a doorway to an extensive range of information and teaching resources on garden design, growing skills and ways of making links between the garden and other curriculum areas, particularly the global dimension.

Partnership handbooks Building Successful School Partnerships Oxfam, 2007 An excellent guide which explores some of the ways in which school partnerships can contribute to global education. It explains some of the pitfalls and how to avoid them and identifies the essential elements of successful school partnerships. cpd/partnerships/files/oxfam_gc_guide_building_ successful_school_partnerships.pdf A Good Practice Guide to Whole School Linking, MUNDI Centre for Global Education, 2005 This guide focuses on the experience of a group of English schools undertaking partnership projects with schools in Zimbabwe, and shares the benefits they enjoyed and the challenges they faced. It provides a wealth of practical advice for dealing with everyday issues that arise in linking. Just Linking: A guide to linking schools, Leeds DEC, 2006 Although developed primarily for schools wanting to explore global issues by linking with a contrasting school in the UK, this handbook and DVD explore issues common to all partnerships and identify good practice in using partnerships to develop global themes in the curriculum. Partners in Learning: A guide to successful global school partnerships, Department for International Development, 2006 A thorough guide to the key questions and practical issues of developing partnerships, drawing on the experiences of schools around the world that have been supported by DFID’s Global School Partnership Programme. global-school-partnerships/Publications School linking: a controversial issue, Fran Martin in The Challenge of Teaching Controversial Issues, Hilary Claire and Cathie Holden eds, Trentham Books, 2007


Questions the often uncontroversial nature of school linking and examines the factors affecting it. Thinking about Linking? Margaret Burr, DEA Thinkpiece includes the author’s stories and personal anecdotes about linking, which highlight some of the issues and potential pitfalls. 8 documents/dea_thinkpiece_burr.pdf Toolkit for Linking: Opportunities and challenges, UK One World Linking Association, 2006 This guide provides a framework for thinking through the important questions that any school, local authority or community group needs to address in order to develop rewarding, sustainable and equal partnerships.

Partnership programmes There are a number of organisations which will help schools to arrange and manage partnerships. The Australia-Asia BRIDGE Project aims to increase knowledge and understanding between Australia and Asia through school-to-school partnerships that link students, teachers and school communities across the region. The school partnerships are fostered through physical exchange, professional learning (ICT, cross-cultural understanding, etc) and online engagement. bridge/.html BBC World Class is an initiative bringing the benefits of international school linking to schools across the UK. Their website is a central resource of our partner organisations which facilitate and support school linking. The programme works with partner organisations to help interested schools find a link. Connecting Classrooms is a global programme that creates partnerships between clusters of schools in the UK and others around the world. These partnerships bring an international dimension to young people’s learning, to improve their knowledge and understanding of other cultures and prepare them for life and work as global citizens. The Comenius Programme for schools within the

EU to partner up and apply for support for joint curriculum projects. The whole school is involved ideally learners and staff work together in different curriculum areas aiming for a cross-curricular approach. Food for Thought is a garden-based programme linking schools in Devon and Cornwall in UK with schools in Uganda which explores sustainable food growing. It is managed by Devon Development Education (DDE) in UK and Kulika in Uganda. The German-American Partnership Programme puts interested schools in touch with each other and supports long-term school partnerships in order to help promote German language teaching in schools abroad. Global Gateway is managed by the British Council and provides a match-making service for finding school partners according to curriculum areas, subject, country and specialist aspects. The Inter-Action European and specialist schools programme promotes Anglo-French school partnerships by pairing English and French schools and supporting them to work together. It is jointly managed by the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust and the Centre International d’Etudes Pedagogiques. iNet (International Networking for Educational Transformation) works with schools and organisations to transform education through the sharing of best practice and innovation. iNet offers a range of online and face-to-face support, including workshops, study tours, conferences, online forums, publications, to make this possible.

communications technologies Schools Linking Network (SLN) facilitates links between schools in England to help children and young people explore their identity, celebrate diversity and develop dialogue, offering support and training for schools and local authorities to deliver on their statutory duty to promote community cohesion. DFID Global School Partnerships This scheme, run by a consortium of organisations on behalf of DFID, offers advice, training, grants and support for UK schools setting up and running partnerships with schools in Africa, the Caribbean, the Pacific, Asia and Latin America. Link Community Development LCD organises and helps to maintain links between schools in the UK and schools in Africa. The emphasis is on goodquality education.

Other resources Education for Global Citizenship: A guide for schools, Oxfam, 2006 Free teachers’ guide explaining the what, why and how of Education for Global Citizenship. Includes Oxfam’s Curriculum for Global Citizenship, which can help focus the educational objectives of school partnerships. for_global_citizenship_a_guide_for_schools.pdf Teaching Controversial Issues, Oxfam, 2006 Full of strategies and activities to help teachers tackle the kind of controversial issues that can (and should!) arise in the classroom as a result of school partnerships. controversial/files/teaching_controversial_issues.pdf

Plan Schools Link creates bonds between schools in Kenya, Sierra Leone, Malawi, China and UK, supported by a range of learning resources to foster discussion and learning about global issues Positively Global - Leeds DEC is working with partner organisations in 6 countries - Nicaragua, Senegal, South Africa, France, Germany and Britain - to produce a series of active learning materials, which will be published and sold from the DEC. is a programme which helps schools find partners around the world and supports learning relationships with resources and materials and


Reading International Solidarity Centre RISC is Reading’s Development Education Centre. Working with schools and community organisations, RISC raises the profile of global issues and promotes action for sustainable development, equality and social justice throughout the world.

Schools Global Garden Network The SGGN is a partnership between RISC and: l Garden Organic: the UK’s leading organic growing charity. l The Federation of City Farms & Community Gardens: supports community-managed farms and gardens.

l Food For Thought: a project of Devon Development Education that links organic school gardens in Berkshire, Cornwall and Devon with similar schools in Uganda.

l Practical Action: works with poor people to develop simple technology to challenge poverty.

l RHS Campaign for School Gardening: encourages and supports schools to develop and use a school garden.

l Roehampton University School of Education: is embedding the global dimension into its ITE courses. bringing the global dimension into the outdoor classroom

© RISC 2010 Users may copy pages from this pack for educational use, but no part may be reproduced for commercial use without prior permission from RISC Written by Tony Potterton Design by Dave Richards

The Network is supported by the Department for International Development (DFID) but the content of this guide is solely the responsibility of the SGGN.

Reading International Solidarity Centre

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school Garden Partnerships: a guide to good practice  
school Garden Partnerships: a guide to good practice  

The benefits of both school gardens and partnerships with other schoolsare well known. These two elements can be brought together in a garde...