School Farms Network

sfn_logotypeboxed_328_small.jpgThere are now more than 110 School Farms in the UK. FCFCG helped set up and co-ordinates the School Farms Network, which offers support and assistance to school farms, co-ordinates meetings and facilitates the exchange of ideas and information, including peer teacher support. 

In addition, an e-newsletter is regularly dispatched to members to keep them up to date and this webpage is updated with useful information including contact details.

Updates

New Project Demonstrates Value of Outdoor Classroom

A new Natural England-funded project to demonstrate the enormous benefits of outdoor learning to children and develop a model(s) of using ‘hub’ schools to support and deliver teacher training, is now available.

The project, which is funded by Natural England, the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and Historic England and delivered by Plymouth University, is the largest project of its kind in England and has already helped more than 40,000 primary and secondary school pupils get out of their classrooms and into the outdoors – whether that’s a maths lesson in a local park or drama out on the school field. Read more at https://www.farmgarden.org.uk/news/new-project-demonstrates-benefits-out...

 

School Farms Conference postponed:

The School Farms Network Education Alliance (SFNEA) conference which was due to take place at the Royal Agricultural University in September 2016 has been rescheduled to 30 June and 1 July 2017, after organisers decided political and economic turmoil following Brexit could have a negative impact on the planned event. 

The conference, organised as part of a new alliance between the Royal Agricultural University, the School Farms Network and education specialists Applied Inspiration, was due to be held at RAU campus in Cirencester on 16/17 September 2016. Following a review it was decided that the timing of the event was no longer appropriate due to the changing political and economic landscape, and uncertainly over policy decisions.


Ian Egginton-Metters of the School Farms Network said: “We want to ensure the future of school farming is discussed in the context of a new political situation, which will be more apparent in 2017. This will be an important context for our discussions, considerations and debate. Between now and the new 2017 conference dates, the Alliance will continue to work in Partnership with targeted schools on a range of activities that connect school farms with university students and staff. When our conference comes around in 2017, this will add another dimension to the event and bring further richness in demonstrating the work of the Alliance. We are of the view that this will mean stronger engagement, and therefore better outcomes all round.”
 

School Farms: At The Heart Of Outstanding Schools:
This publication from the School Farms Network is aimed primarily at head teachers and education policy makers to highlight the wide range of benefits and positive effects on learning that school farms can bring to a school, its teachers and students, and the local community.Download the document and supporting information via the School Farm Benefits page.

School Farms Research Document: 
A new research document called The Living Classroom - School Farms in the UK: A mapping document is now available to download here: School Farms Research Survey
 

School Farms Network - A Short History

From a low point in 2006, when there were only 66 school farms, the UK now has more than 110 school farms and a number of schools actively engaged in starting a new one. They are situated throughout the UK but with particular concentration in South East England and the West Midlands. Developing a formal support structure for them has been an objective for some time, and an initial meeting of school farm practitioners was convened in 2004 at Oathall Community College in Haywards Health, West Sussex, to look at the ways in which this could be taken forward.>

HRH The Prince of Wales sent a letter of support for the event and emerging network, in which he said: "I could not be more pleased to be supporting this conference to promote school farms and gardens as centres of excellence and to serve as a resource to enrich and enhance the curriculum". The Prince has a particular interest in the education of children about farming and growing and has himself visited several school farms in the past. As a result of this drive, the School Farms Network (SFN) was set up in 2004 and offers support and assistance to school farms, co-ordinates meetings, produces materials and CPD and facilitates networking.

FCFCG is responsible for co-ordinating the School Farms Network. It offers advice to existing farms and those wishing to start a new school farm (teachers, assistants and parents), including finding a mentor and signposting to specialists. Geoff Carr is Chair of the School Farms Network. He runs the school farm and is is an Advanced Science Teacher (AST) at Chipping Campden School in Gloucestershire. Find out more about the farm on the Rural Dimension page of the school's website.

Network meetings

These meetings are an excellent opportunity for school farm staff and volunteers to swap ideas, gain inspiration from the work of their colleagues and discuss how to stimulate understanding and support for school farms.

Contacts: Help and Advice

Geoff Carr, Chipping Campden School, is the chair of SFN. Howard Wood is an FCFCG Fieldworker when he isn't busy running Oathall School Farm and teaching. Together they have offered to help answer questions and discuss issues with individual school farm staff who contact them, along with Ian who is available to answer or signpost enquiries and pursue opportunities to help develop the Network, hands-on farming and horticultural education in schools.

Please leave your name, name of school and telephone number when making contact. 

Events

Find out about the range of training events we run or recommend for community growers across the UK

Our Work

We are the leading UK charity dedicated to supporting city farms, community gardens & other green spaces.