The pre-16 students, who attend college during year 10 and 11, have spent months planning and researching ideas to improve the centre, which they use on a Monday for their lessons. They decided to plant a new orchard to not only benefit the college community, but to create a habitat for wildlife and new learning opportunities for future students too.
At the start of the academic year, the students and staff held fundraising events, raising over £175 through competitions, cake sales and plant sales, all of which went towards purchasing the trees and plants for the Warminster site. The students then spent months cultivating the land, clearing it of weeds, bushes and stones, before selecting the right trees for the plot. In the end they decided on six apple trees, including Red Devil, Christmas Pippin and James Grieve varieties, as well as two Conference Pear trees.
Farida Ahmed-Sheehan, tutor for pre-16 students at the Trowbridge campus, said: “I am so proud of the students for the hard work they have done over the past six months leading up to today. They have taken this opportunity to give back to the community where they study, being environmentally friendly at the same time and recognising the benefits to others through their work. Although we know we have planted these trees late this year, we are going to take good care of them and look forward to reaping the rewards next year!”
The students also used some extra time to create window boxes for the building, made using recycled pallets, and a planted border at the entrance to the centre, using box plants, lavender and bedding flowers.
Deputy Head for the Foundation Studies department, Cath Giles, added: “This orchard is a perfect example of how fantastic our students can be, working together for the benefit of not only the college but the local community and our environment. As well as enabling the students to develop a wealth of skills and experience, it will also grow to benefit future learners, creating new opportunities for projects next year including teaching new students horticulture skills, as well as making our own apple juice, cakes and pies to sell at the student-run college café to fund future activities. I am immensely proud of their hard work and achievements.”
Wiltshire College delivers pre-16 study programmes across all four of our main campuses, working with students who are on school roll and also those who are home educated. To find out more about our pre-16 provision, visit www.wiltshire.ac.uk/Study/14-16-Provision