Garden Sanctuary 

A new sensory, edible garden and outdoor classroom space for the pupils at Sutton Tuition and Reintegration Service (STARS), has been made possible by a £15,000 grant from Wooden Spoon Surrey. Food grown will be eaten by the children and used to promote school-wide healthy eating. Children at STARS have a range of complex medical needs including eating disorders, autism, emotional disorders, and mental health difficulties. STARS teacher, Andrew, tells us how the garden has helped Aaron: “By chance, I invited Aaron to help out in the garden one day, and he absolutely loved it.” 

Aaron, 12, has ASD and has missed a lot of school due to anxiety. Mum, Nicola, said: “We knew that Aaron has something like ASD, but because he is very bright, his previous school didn’t see it as Aaron can mask. He was also bullied.” With an EHCP in place, Aaron started at STARS. Nicola continues:

“One day he was struggling, and I couldn’t get him ready for school. As soon as Andrew said, ‘do you want to come up and do some gardening?’ I’ve never seen him get ready so fast. “Even when it’s raining Aaron would be out there. The other day he picked radishes. It’s an escape, there are other children, but sometimes it’s just Andrew and Aaron, they’ve definitely bonded”