The potatoes ready to be judged.

The Solana Schools growing competition was launched 6 months ago with the idea to get our students to understand more about the quality of yield and skin on potatoes.

On Wednesday 19th September, Solana Seeds held a judging ceremony at the Walking With The Wounded (WWTW) offices to both judge the best potatoes and support the charity. 

Duncan Slater (Ambassador of Unity Education Trust) spent time meeting and talking to our students. A lovely lunch was provided and goodie bags (sponsored by Solana) were handed out. Students also received a tour of equipment used within the potato industry. Lastly, Duncan and the WWTW team gave an inspiring presentation, before the winners were announced.

We are delighted to announce that Northgate won the overall result of the competition for growing the finest quality and quantity of potatoes. A sample of our potatoes have been kept as they are keen to investigate the success of growth – a few farmers commented on not seeing such quality in years! Well done to Mr MacDonald and students involved.

Mr MacDonald with Duncan Slater and some of the Year 11 MAP group.

The Solana Seeds potato competition.











Northgate’s winning trophies!

The Year 11 MAP group have been the main source of assistance throughout the growing of the potatoes and the outstanding students during this time have been Hanna Adams and Cameron Williams. They just get stuck in and are certainly not scared to get their hands dirty. This is also a clear indication of their interests for the future – Cameron enjoys working with his hands and would like to go into construction. Hanna loves horses and would also like to continue this with a place in the future at college. The Year 11 MAP group really enjoy spending some of their lessons in the ELF and have supported younger students during their time there, an example of this is during transition.

Hanna and Cameron with the Regional Schools Commissioner.

The ELF has always provided a fantastic platform for outdoor learning at Northgate and within the community. We have recently been supporting a group of students from Fred Nicholson School, who have embarked on a 10 week volunteering project of outdoor learning supported by Mr MacDonald.

The success of produce does not stop with the champion potatoes, we now move onto enterprise. We have ended up with a bumper crop of green tomatoes, which have now made their way into the Food Tech department for the first production of Northgate ELF Chutney. Our Year 7s are designing a label in a competition and Year 10 GCSE group are making the Chutney, then the jars will be available on Open Evenings.


The ELF has built up a fantastic reputation during the last couple of years. This includes receiving a Certificate of recognition from Cultivation Street and Celebrity gardener David Domeney, a level 5 star Award from the RHS (proudly displayed in the foyer), a Certificate to Mr MacDonald for his contribution to schools gardening and only recently overall winners for growing potatoes in Norfolk schools. It does not stop there, On Friday 22nd September, Mr MacDonald has entered two teams of Year 8 pupils for the RHS ‘Green Plan It Challenge’. This will be a 10 week project for the teams to work with a mentor from the RHS and design a garden area for our school – ideas have already been put forward for a “mindfulness area”. We have also welcomed the Regional Schools Commissioner to the ELF recently to see what goes on.

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