For those students who become committed to Horticulture, get great pleasure and enjoyment from the subject and wish to take it to a higher level, then a horticultural option has been designed to meet those students’ needs. i.e. The ‘Hortus’ programme.

This course is open to students from Year 11 to Year 14, and follows a varied horticultural programme over a period of two to three years. This protracted programme allows us the chance to offer a range of qualifications, extend the students’ skills and knowledge of Horticultural and Construction, and gives students the opportunity to work within a variety of horticultural environments.

The curriculum for this tutor group encompasses a core of Literacy, Numeracy, ICT and a Careers/Independent Living Skills programme over a period of 2 days. On the remaining 3 days, the students receive a programme of ‘Horticulture’ briefly outlined below.

Practical Horticultural Skills

Students engage in four core units:

 Prepare ground for sowing or planting

 Plant container grown subjects

 Prepare soil and apply organic mulch

 Water a bed, border or area of plants in containers

An additional 16 units are available to be taken over a two year period.

As part of the course, students also engage in a range of construction projects (four or five in nature) improving skills and knowledge linked to brick laying, flagging, concreting, paving and wooden constructions i.e. pergolas, fencing, trellising, etc.

We currently maintain the grounds of five main sites in Oldham. These include:

 Both the sites around the New Bridge School and the Learning Centre

 New Bridge Horizons

 North Chadderton School

 Old Hulmeians Football Club

In order to maintain these grounds, students have to learn how use a range of Horticultural machinery and equipment including:

 Ride-on mowers

 Fly mowers/lawn mowers

 Strimmers and brush cutters

 Rotavators, wood chippers, etc

Opportunities to teach horticulture to pupils within Oldham’s local primary schools

At various times in the year, pupils from some of the local primary schools attend the Learning Centre for short courses in ‘Practical Horticulture Skills’. Projects include making hanging baskets or planters, sowing seeds, potting-on, weeding a bed etc.

Develop and run a garden centre

In the near future, the present facilities will incorporate a fully functioning garden centre with a view to opening to the public. Garden plants and vegetable produce grown within the school grounds will be available for sale through a ‘farm shop’ manned by the pupils on site. This will allow pupils an opportunity to develop their personal, social and communication skills through their interaction with members of the public.

Horticultural courses of study including:

 accreditation at NPTC Level 1 – ‘Practical Horticulture Skills’

 accreditation in all hand-held machinery (Level 2)

 accreditation with ride on mowers and all other forms of mower. (Level 2)