New film shows impact of care farming on education
News item first posted on: 14/06/21
A new film from Social Farms & Gardens Growing Care Farming team highlights how care farming can help young people in education.
Care farms help people of different ages, including young people who may be struggling to learn in mainstream education. Care farming is one of a range of nature-based interventions available in the UK that can boost prospects and change lives. Through a supervised, structured programme of farming activity, young people can improve health and wellbeing or gain qualifications and skills. For some young people, care farming can be a path back to mainstream education.
Over half of UK care farms work with young people with Autism Spectrum Disorders and learning difficulties or as part of Alternative Provision, with 40% working with under 18s with learning disabilities, mental ill health or physical disabilities. Referrals to care farms can be part of SEND, part of an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) or as Alternative Education Provision. Care farms also help young people with mental health and wellbeing or rehabilitation.
Care farming is a powerful mix of being in nature, working as a group and meaningful activity. Young people can get closer to nature and do something with real purpose, whether it's animal care, horticulture or a range of farming-related tasks. Whatever the activity, young people play an important part in the day to day running of a care farm. Activities are tailored to an individual’s specific needs, so everyone is able to take part in farm life in a safe and supported way.
Increased self-confidence, self-worth and better communication skills are just some of the positive outcomes for young people attending care farms regularly.
Speaking about care farming for education in the film, Emma Thomas from Bridge School in Malvern, said: "We have found that care farming is a really effective service for those who perhaps struggle with schooling, because it offers them an opportunity to do something different to academics, it's that hands-on work and sense of purpose. It's been great at helping to improve their confidence and prepare them for life after education."
Parent Belinda Philpotts talks about the positive changes she has seen in her son Aiden:"School was always hit and miss with him but now he wants to learn, he wants an education. He's now thinking of a future, it's really changed him. With the help of the farm he's becoming my son again."
Former care farm student Aston explains how care farms make a difference, she said:"They show you that you can do it, and make you actually believe in it, and you're a lot more confident and ready to face the world as an adult."
The film was made in collaboration with partners, care farmers, schools and young people as part of the Growing Care Farming project - a big thank you to everyone who took part.