Commonwealth Countries in a Barrow! 18 Solihull schools take part


School children from across the borough have been busy preparing unique wheelbarrows for the annual school wheelbarrow competition at BBC Gardener’s World Live. The event took place at the NEC between 16-19 June, featuring wheelbarrows from schools across the Midlands, including entries from an impressive 18 schools in Solihull.

To celebrate the arrival of the Commonwealth Games, each school was asked to plant a barrow which represented one of the Commonwealth countries. Once choosing their country, it was up to the school pupils to draw inspiration from the local flora and fauna, garden styles, national heritage, cuisine and culture and plant a wheelbarrow brimming with creativity and colour. In particular, schools were asked to focus on edible plants from their chosen country.  

The competition was a simple hands-on and fun gardening activity, enjoyed by pupils of all levels. Not only did it teach the children about their chosen Commonwealth country, it helped them connect with nature as they had to nurture and care for their plants, so that they would thrive and grow in their container.

Reaping the fruits of their labour, students could take satisfaction in knowing their wheelbarrows were on display in front of tens of thousands of visitors at the BBC Gardeners World Live show which attracts garden enthusiasts from all over the UK.

If you didn’t make it down to the show itself, we’ll be creating a display of wheelbarrow photos for the CORE Commonwealth Games Commonwealth Games Exhibition in Solihull Town Centre next month.

The Commonwealth Games itself takes place in Birmingham between 28 July and 8 August 2022.

Councillor Karen Grinsell, Deputy Leader of Solihull Council and the Portfolio Holder for the Commonwealth Games said:

"I was so impressed by the work of the children in creating these wheelbarrows and very pleased that so many schools from across the borough took part. In Solihull we're proud of the role we're playing in welcoming the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games to the region this year. This competition really shows the breadth of activities that are taking place ahead of the Commonwealth Games themselves, and the real connection they have to our community. The children's work being exhibited in the very venue in this borough where many of the events will take place this summer is proof of that."

Councillor Andy Mackiewicz, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Climate Change, Planning and Housing said:

“It’s fantastic to see so many of our schools taking part in this challenge and learn about the incredible breadth of biodiversity from Commonwealth countries around the world. Unfortunately, the reality is that some Commonwealth countries are particularly at risk from climate change impacts such as flooding caused by rising sea levels and droughts brought on by soaring temperatures. However, learning about the unique flora of these countries will help the next generation appreciate that we need to do everything we can to slow down global warming.”

“It’s so important that school pupils get these hands-on experiences with gardening and nature conservation, as it may well spark further interest outside of the classroom and even develop into a hobby or shape their future career interests later on in life. Protecting and enhancing the environment is one of our key priorities at the Council and it’s one of the borough’s greatest assets in the fight against climate change”.

The full list of Solihull schools that took part and their chosen Commonwealth countries are:

  • Balsall Common Primary School – Anguilla
  • Blossomfield Infant and Nursery – England
  • Damson Wood Nursery and Infant School – Canada
  • Dickens Heath Primary School – England
  • Fordbridge Community Primary School – Cyprus
  • Haslucks Green Junior School – India
  • Langley Secondary School – New Zealand
  • Light Hall School – Australia
  • Merstone School – Canada
  • Monkspath Junior and Infant School – Kenya
  • Reynalds Cross Special School – India
  • Shirley Heath Junior School – India
  • St Margaret’s – India
  • St Patricks Church of England Primary Academy – India
  • Tudor Grange Primary Academy Yew Tree – India
  • Widney Junior School – Jamaica
  • Woodlands Infant School – New Zealand
  • Yorkswood Primary school – UK