Face­Time a Farmer Case Study

Philip Rowbottom’s family have been farming in Woolley, Wakefield for over 90 years. His arable farm includes a grain storage facilty and a 27 hole golf course. Phil decided to sign up for FaceTime a Farmer after responding to Farmer Tom’s recruitment tweets on Twitter. Although anxious at first, he has fully embraced the initiative and looks forward to his regular FaceTime conversations.

Phil is matched with a school in Northamptonshire, the class teacher signed up her year 1 class to participate in the initiative and stated, “the children have been really inspired and produced some super work following on from our FaceTime chats.”

Phil’s FaceTime a Farmer sessions are action packed with Phil often creating his own resources to support the children’s learning. Prior to each session, Phil and Emma contact each other by phone and email to discuss what the children are learning about that week. One particularly successful session was when the children were learning about measuring objects in their mathematics lesson. In advance of the FaceTime session, Phil decided to create a 3 metre rule in order to measure objects around the farm live during the FaceTime session.

The children really enjoyed moving around the farmyard with Phil, measuring the height of the tractors and other farm machinery he used the ruler to compare sizes, Phil’s height was marked on the ruler to give the children some concept of scale. This real-life context helped to embed the concepts taught within the classroom.

In another session Phil made the link from the grain stored on his farm to the bread that the children had as toast that morning. He planted some beans with the children in glass jars to show the structure of the plant as it grew, again linking to essential curriculum learning. However, the children are not the only ones that are learning, Phil too believes he is learning a new skill of being able to convey his extensive knowledge of agriculture to a younger audience.

Phil is eager to encourage other farmers to volunteer their time to take part in this initiative, he commented, “today, farming and the public are too remote – its time to start putting farming and food production back into the curriculum to close this gap, it is important to pass on knowledge from generation to generation.”

He also believes that the project allows farming to be less remote to children and the calls can “spark a thought” that could ultimately lead to educating the future food production workforce.

Further information about this initiative and how your school or farm can become involved can be found at www.leafuk.org/facetimeafarmer

Contact: [email protected]

Thank you to Philip Rowbottom