It was fantastic to see all the successes of the first ever School Farms Day over the weekend - an event which celebrates the impact of the 130+ School Farms across the UK.
Abbey Court, a special school for pupils aged 3-19 with severe and profound learning difficulties, held a range of wonderful activities including pygmy goat walking, meet the Shetland Ponies, chicken ‘close encounters’ and planting.
Ramsey Grammar School, Isle of Mann, welcomed the public in for a huge celebration of Manx Agriculture, sustainability and school farm life – the event attracted a lot of great publicity from press and local groups and families enjoyed treasure hunts, competitions, food and animal events!
The North School's farm held a wonderful Spring Fair and King's Oak Farm had 'animal encounters with rabbits, guinea pigs and goats' on their rural grounds, as well as giveaways and a brilliant photo competition. Longlands Primary School Farm wowed families with a double decker activity bus, a bouncy castle, face painting and walk the school goat activities! They also used the opportunity to raise money for the farm, and were joined by the MP for North Shropshire and the Mayor of Market Drayton.
Some School Farms celebrated by sharing their work online. The brilliant virtual tours and videos by Brockhill Park pupils showed why school farms are important and how the pupils are able to gain amazing experience in animal husbandry. Sir Robert Geffery's School Farm celebrated with a great photo farm tour, featuring Polly the donkey and Big Doris the chicken.
The event really showcased the work that School Farms do and how they transform young lives. School Farms Day will be back next year over the last weekend in April.
Why are School Farms important all year round?
There are over 130 School Farms across the UK, enabling young people to learn outdoors in nature. Young people are trusted and given responsibility, and carry out key farming activities such as feeding and caring for animals, growing and selling produce and using machinery.
Farming activities are linked to the curriculum and support ofsted inspections - numeracy and literacy is learnt through fun, visual and hands on activities such as weighing and feeding animals. Educational attainment has been shown to increase in schools with an active school farm, and results show that there are huge benefits to self esteem, confidence, mental health, skills and opportunities.
The impact for young people is life changing - especially for those that are struggling in mainstream schools or have special educational needs and need a different type of education.
School Farms equip future generations to tackle the challenges ahead - including