Rayleigh school packs a punch with winning pumpkin

Pupils at Edward Francis School in Rayleigh have won a local pumpkin growing competition run by Barleylands Farm Park.

For the past six months the school has been growing the pumpkin from seeds they collected when they visited the farm park in the spring for an interactive educational visit about where their food comes from.

The competition is judged by the Barleylands team for Halloween and the winning school received £100.

The pumpkin was named “Bill” by the reception year group. Class teacher, Angela King, said, “We have had real fun with this project, but on a serious note the children have really taken ownership of this project and shown a keen interest in researching the life cycle of a pumpkin and its care, so a great deal of learning and commitment has been demonstrated by the small group.

“The children were absolutely thrilled and the school are very grateful for the prize money.”

Head of Education at Barleylands, Karen Watson, said: “The judges were blown away by the effort the children at Edward Francis School had gone to and how much they had learned about the lifecycle of a pumpkin.

“Growing a plant from seed to fruition is a really rewarding project and children especially enjoy seeing the fruits of their labour. We have had some very worthy entries again this year. We love that school children can take something back from Barleylands to the classroom and continue to learn about food and farming throughout the school year.”

Barleylands’ education team has won a number of awards for its experiential school visits and bespoke themed days which tie in with subjects across the curriculum from maths to science and history through food and farming.


Mick Ferris

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