Since 2015, Tangmere Airfield Nurseries has been engaging with A-Level Biology students and teaching staff at St Philip Howard School in Barnham, West Sussex. Our glasshouses provide a learning context to explore plant science and a real-world link to the curriculum.

This spring term, we hosted 23 A-level students from St Philip Howard School. The aim of these visits is to help illustrate key topics such as Photosynthesis and Integrated Pest Control Systems within the glasshouse environment. The  students also have a chance to see the onsite electricity generating station - an efficient farming system that uses the waste heat and carbon dioxide to increase the rate of photosynthesis and help grow more peppers.

Graham Jones, Head of Science from St Philip Howard School said: “The students are able to acquire knowledge that they can apply directly to their A2 syllabus. It’s really useful for us to refer back to the visit in our teaching; it puts plant biology in context and brings it to life.”

Back in the school laboratory, Tangmere’s annual growing challenge encourages each student to nurture a pepper plant, test different growing conditions, record growth and collect data.

Graham said: “The exchange of the peppers growth data adds a competitive element and gives the students a deeper appreciation of actually how manipulation of the growing environment can enhance photosynthesis in the context of the business of horticulture and food production.”

Katherine Hobro was named as the competition’s overall winner with ‘the most plant growth’ in a four week period.

Mark Knight, Tangmere’s Technical Crops Manager, concluded: “The opportunity to visit the School to see the plants and hear the students’ interest and enthusiasm for growing was a brilliant end to a great project. We look forward to developing the exchange next year.”

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