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Learning to build a sustainable future

St Augustine’s Priory in Ealing has been shortlisted for the Whole-School Community Initiative of the Year award.

The school runs an allotment and farm on 13 acres of land. Parents lead the allotment where pupils work under their guidance to grow a variety of crops, from strawberries to cabbages. The farm has several breeds of chicken, micro-pigs and an endangered variety of sheep. Girls become farm managers and, with their parents, they care for the animals, even during weekends and holidays.

Visiting primary schools learn about sustainability and St Augustine’s students weave in whatever they are learning. One school brought three forms over two days to enhance their study of ‘Charlotte’s Web’. They saw students gathering acorns and apples from the orchard for the pigs and selling eggs to buy chicken feed.

Students helped to place solar panels on the chicken coop to power the electric door which keeps the chicks safe from foxes, learning about renewable energy sources and energy transfers in the process.

Pupils learn to use everything. Sheep are rotated around the grounds, reducing the need for using lawn mowers; pigs’ ‘black gold’ becomes manure for the allotment; and wool from the sheep deters slugs and snails.

Pupils are learning that protecting the future begins in the present.