Pupils at Ysgol Bryn Hyfryd have rolled up their sleeves to help their school increase its biodiversity by creating an enclosed garden area.

23 pupils at the school were supported by Education Engagement Officers from Denbighshire County Council’s Llwybrau service to take part in outdoor education to help them re-engage with their studies through building their confidence.

Llwybrau supports young people in Denbighshire to reduce their risk of disengagement from education, provide support to re-engage in education or to move into employment or training at the end of year 11. The service has received £1,308,418 from the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

The Llwybrau Team applied for starter packs from Keep Wales Tidy which provided raised beds, bug houses and fruit plants. They were also able to obtain an orchard pack Keep Wales Tidy which included a fruit orchard and bulbs to plant wildflowers to start their outdoor learning project.

When it came to the development of the garden area, the Team worked with the Council’s Biodiversity Team to help educate the pupils on how to increase the school’s biodiversity through companion planting, using the fallen small branches and leaves from the current school trees to put at the bottom of their plants to help increase the nutrients within the soil. The pupils were also taught about eco-friendly methods of helping their plants grow, such as using cardboard at the bottom of their planters to help reduce weed growth, utilising the cardboard boxes that their gardening resources were delivered in. The aim is for the fruit and veg to be used within the school’s science and cooking departments to help support further learning.

The Llwybrau Team also applied for a grant from Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board’s Public Production grant which has helped pupils develop their numeracy skills through having to budget when ordering materials to build their planters as well as soil, plants and seeds to be able to grow their garden.

Through this project, the pupils were also able to learn about using tools safely, building things by hand and building things using materials readily available from the land through sessions with The Wilderness Tribe who worked with them to build wattle fencing, dead hedging, seating area and an outside campfire area through traditional heritage skills. The Wilderness Tribe sessions were provided through the Little Learning Company’s Heritage Skills Partnership, which also received funding through Denbighshire’s allocation of Shared Prosperity Funding.

The pupils enjoyed their outdoor learning experience so much that they began to actively promote it to other pupils at the school to encourage them to take part. Llwybrau has also arranged for further STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) activities to take place at the school through partnering with The Little Learning company to facilitate more heritage skills sessions with the pupils.

Cllr Gill German, Lead Member for Education, Children and Families, said: “I am delighted to see the great work that has been done at Ysgol Bryn Hyfryd to not only support young people to re-engage with their education, but also sparking a new-found enthusiasm for their studies that they might not have developed through mainstream teaching.

“This is a great example of partnership working from the Council’s Llwybrau service, who’s experienced Education Engagement Officers have done a fantastic job in utilising skills and resources from a variety of different organisations to support these pupils in re-engaging with their education and discovering new skills and hobbies that they might not have been aware of before.”