In September LEAF Education is launching an initiative to encourage more pupils to visit a farm to enrich their curriculum learning, now available throughout the academic year. A LEAF Open Farm School Day (LOFSD) is an opportunity for schools in England and Wales to visit a farm and experience high quality teaching and learning delivery from one of LEAF Education’s Regional Education Consultants (RECs).
The content of the school day can be determined by the school in collaboration with their REC, bespoke to their current curriculum learning. Alternatively, LEAF Education provides a comprehensive ‘Suite of Offers’, which is a selection of daily programmes offered on farm covering different curriculum areas targeted at ages 4 to 18 years. The benefits of visiting a farm are widespread providing not only a different environment to learn in but also promote interest and enthusiasm to inspire learning back in the classroom.
Whilst having years of experience hosting primary schools and community groups, a secondary school visit was something Sandra and Anthony from Whetstone Pastures farm had never contemplated before until LEAF Education linked them up with Mrs Mesias and her Food Technology department at Higham Lane Academy School in Nuneaton. Whetstone Pastures is a 600-acre mixed farm in South Leicestershire and has been in the Herbert family for over 100 years, including wheat, oilseed rape, field beans and pick your own fruit fields.
However, it was the farm’s dairy unit, run by Jimmy and Esther Pritt, and the possibility of seeing a large scale milking parlour that really interested Mrs Mesias and her GCSE Food Preparation and Nutrition students, “food provenance is such a key part of the new GCSE now and I particularly wanted the students to understand dairy and how cheese is made.” The milk from Whetstone Pastures goes to make the world-famous blue stilton cheese called Long Clawson, samples of which were generously provided by Long Clawson Dairy Ltd and tasted.
In addition to learning about the dairy, the students also had the opportunity to walk across the fruit fields and learn about how a wide variety of fruits such as strawberries, blackcurrants and gooseberries are cultivated.
Visits to real working farms like this are essential for teenagers. Today’s visit will stay in the memory of these young learners and enable them to remember key concepts much better for their forthcoming exams. In this instance the school and farm have now formed the start of a longstanding partnership which will see many repeat visits in the future.
Would your school like to arrange a LEAF Open Farm School Day?
Contact Julie Neale for further information [email protected]