This year, we have been focusing our attention on farm visits for Secondary School students. Business Studies GCSE and A Level, and the new GCSE in Food Preparation and Nutrition, have considerable potential to be taught through the lens of farming. So Gaina, our Regional Education Consultant in the East of England, has been mapping the curriculum and collaborating with farmers and teachers to design on-farm activity days which enable interactive, high value learning in a real-world context.
A class of Year 12 Business Studies students from Cardinal Newman School in Luton, visited the farm at Maydencroft Ltd, to learn about Finance, Human Resources and Business Decision Making. The day included a talk from the livestock manager and HR manager, a tour of the farm to see the sheep and the heritage Longhorn Cattle, and an activity using data to calculate the best sales strategy for the farm’s beef. The feedback from students was incredibly positive, with the teacher commenting that one of the students was struggling with the subject, but at the end of the day told her with a big smile on his face “I get it now! Can we visit another farm too?” For many students, learning in an outdoor, farm setting helps to bring theories taught in the classroom to life.
A second group of Business Studies students from Marylebone School in London, visited Farmschool at Annables Farm in Hertfordshire, as part of their Year 10 studies. Here students learned about Finance, as well as the Internal and External Influences on Business. The risks and rewards of arable farming were highlighted whilst on a tour with farmer, Ian Pigott, followed by a competitive group activity which simulated the decisions involved in grain commodity trading. “I didn’t realise farming was so complex” commented one student. Others “didn’t realise how much land was needed to grow crops”, or simply relished “getting out of the city in the fresh air.”
What is clear, is that farms have an infinite number of learning opportunities, waiting to be experienced by students of all ages.