26 May 2022

Uryside School is first school in the UK to receive award

Uryside School has become the first school in the UK to achieve stage five of the Garden Schools initiative project.

One Seed Forward has also awarded the Inverurie school its Climate Action Award in recognition of work undertaken in this field.

It has been a team effort at Uryside with nursery to Primary 7 pupils growing plants throughout the school. Just some of the green-fingered activities include a whole school sunflower growing competition which ‘cheered up’ areas of the school needing a little brightness. Pupils also took part in litter picking, grew and cared for tomato, cucumber, and chilli plants, learning about how the plant grows and develops, and they also demonstrated a caring community spirit by assisting a local care home with maintaining its garden area each week.

Last autumn the school built a hedgehog friendly area which included raising and amending the fencing to create log piles and shelters. Birdhouses, bug, and hedgehog homes have been added to the school grounds thanks to funding from the Postcode Lottery. Pupils have also made good use of a polytunnel to sow a wildlife-friendly seed mix, edible crops within ten raised beds, and numerous others in seeding stage. Various recycled containers were sown with wildlife-friendly seed mix.  

Uryside School’s Depute Head Teacher, David Shanks, said: “I am absolutely thrilled Uryside School has become the first school in the UK to achieve this award. Our pupils have thoroughly enjoyed watching seeds grow, caring for plants whilst also learning about sustainability and climate change. The knowledge they have gained will no doubt prove useful in later life and possibly spark a passion for gardening and the outdoors.”

Bob Donald, Chair of One Seed Forward, said: “We are thrilled to present Uryside School with these well-deserved awards. We have been bowled over with the amount and range of great work they have done, and that the whole school has been involved. We are also delighted that the local community has both helped with and benefitted from the work.”

The Garden Schools initiative is a collaboration between the voluntary organisation One Seed Forward and the School of Education in the University of Aberdeen. The overall aim of the project is to involve schools in being active participants in creating a physical garden space in their school that can be used to educate children in the benefits of growing their own food. The project has five stages: sprouting, seeding, budding, flowering, and fruiting. For more information please visit