GREEN-fingered youngsters are enjoying the sweet smell of success both in the classroom and out of it.

Matt McGlashan, a teacher at Walmsley CE Primary School is passing on his love of gardening to the next generation and has achieved first class results in seeing children bloom.

The keen gardener is a mentor for the Royal Horticultural Society’s Green Plan IT Challenge, in which secondary pupils are tasked with designing a garden.

And for the past two years, pupils at his own school have been among the horticulturalists to showcase their gardening flair.

Mr McGlashan says gardening has many benefits, including academic, as well as the sheer pleasure it can bring.

He said: “For me, gardening is my passion.

“It recharges me mentally and physically and I love to get lost in the solitude of the garden where you can forget about everything else and just exist in the moment.

“Whether I’m raking up leaves in autumn, pruning roses in winter, getting giddy in spring watching the first bulbs appear or weeding late on a summer’s night as the light fades, I’m outside experiencing the seasons and feeding my soul.

“At school, I’ve seen the immeasurable benefits that gardening can bring to young people of all ages, from garden design projects where they can let their imagination run wild through to learning about science and the environment through outdoor planting and growing.

“Gardening provides an academic boost in nearly every curriculum subject but children also learn how to work in a team and take pride in what they are doing.

“It teaches them about responsibility and the importance of keeping going and sticking to a commitment.

“Not only that, the confidence they gain from achieving a finished garden and presenting it to the public or just getting a seed to germinate, a plant to flower or eating a carrot they have grown is amazing.”

Mr McGlashan says that gardening can help demonstrate talents children may not realise they have and reveal another side to their personalities.

“The whole reason I became a teacher was to work with children, to spend time giving them the opportunity to take part in new experiences and sharing, selfishly, in the fun and joy of a child who is trying to learn something new and discovering a love or talent that they didn’t know they possessed,” he explained.

“On a personal level I have had the privilege of seeing a child who came bottom in every class test be the star of the show when it came to talking to the public about his garden.

"And there was a girl who was fussy and neat in class but the first to get stuck into the weeding and get herself covered in dirt.

"The quietest child in class become the dominant personality in a group planting up a flower bed.

“You see a whole different side to the children in the garden and it is always particularly wonderful to see the children who don’t always shine in the classroom come into their own in the gardening environment.”

Mr McGlashan mentored Urmston Grammar School in the competition which schools around the country took part in.

The school designed a discovery garden themed around space.

He said: "A massive part of a child’s education is to be exposed to as many new experiences as possible and gardening is one of those experiences.

"It may lead to a career they had never considered, a new hobby that allows them to cope with the stresses of the modern world.

"Just as importantly, it shows them that they can achieve something, when they put their mind to it, in any area of their


“I for one can’t imagine not including gardening at school and I would encourage any teacher or adult who works with children to get involved at some level.”