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Schools Plus is a national charity that helps children facing disadvantage succeed at school. They empower teachers with funding, coaching and resources to implement projects that improve students’ learning outcomes. Each year Schools Plus hosts a Smart Giving round and this year they have received nearly 400 applications. They aim to be in a position to fund approx. 20% of submissions.

Newling Public School, a bushfire-affected school in Armidale in the Northern Tablelands region of NSW, was seeking support for a project titled ‘The Complete Cycle’, aimed at promoting healthy lifestyles for students and families. Over 80% of Newling PS’ 128 students are in the lowest quartile of socio-educational advantage – the school has an ICSEA value of 761 and 68% of students are Indigenous. Newling is an Early Action for Success school with a focus on closing the gap in literacy and numeracy. A Breakfast Club is run four days per week by community group volunteers and the fifth day is run by the senior Student Council representatives.

The Project goal is to create healthy lifestyles and healthy lunchboxes through the establishment of an edible garden, outdoor kitchen and closed system recycling program designed and managed by students.

This project aims to create a closed loop when growing and producing food to promote healthy lifestyles. Produce will be grown, harvested, prepared, eaten and organic waste composted for return to the garden, and support livestock. Consideration of sustainable use of rainwater, soil and other resources is incorporated. Students will be directly involved in the care of garden, composting, recycling and monitoring of whole initiative in class lessons through integrated learning activities. For example, literacy and numeracy tasks based on healthy eating and lifestyles will be used to promote awareness and the level of knowledge will be gauged from the students’ work samples. Mathematics lessons will provide the focus for students to collate and analyse their own data based on lunchboxes with regard to healthy eating and compare the understanding they have developed. Teachers will ensure learning is aligned to syllabus outcomes and embedded in the curriculum.

 

Waratah Education Foundation funded ‘The Complete Cycle’ project for Newling Public School.