North Oxfordshire Academy’s has opened its Peaceful Garden which aims to add an area of reflection and quiet for students and staff.
The Peaceful Garden will provide a place of reflection and remembrance for staff and students who have been bereaved, a sensory space for SEN students and a place of quiet for those who need to find some peace in their day
Research has shown that spaces like the peaceful garden are beneficial for students and staff alike.
The transformation began last year with a garden design competition. Using students’ ideas a design was put together and work to clear a piece of unused waste land began in February. After the help of many volunteers from the school and local businesses, the Peaceful Garden has now finally been completed.
Officially opened by Banbury Mayor councillor Gordon Ross, the event was attended by staff, students and representatives from local business who had made the garden possible.
Cllr Ross said: “I was very impressed by what had been achieved. I think the idea of a place set aside for pupils to meditate and cope with emotional problems or simply a calm environment in times of stress is excellent and I hope it will be copied by other schools.”
Banbury Plant, Rainbow Garden Services, Banbury Turf, The Stewart Company and Wynnstay Group all contributed time, resources and expert knowledge to the project and the results have already received praise.
The Peaceful Garden was awarded the ‘Peaceful Project Award’ by The Peaceful Schools Movement, which is given to schools who have made a commitment to creating a project within a school to promote peace and tranquillity.
A spokesperson for the movement said: “We were delighted to present the Peaceful Project Award to the North Oxfordshire Academy for the peaceful garden they have created.
“The project shows a real commitment to the importance of peaceful places in people’s lives. It is great that it is there for both staff and pupils as everyone is part of the school community.
“The contributions to the project made by the young people and other members of the community showed a real partnership approach.”