The Country Trust Food Discovery Programme has been a fantastic addition to our curriculum and encompasses so many different skills and subject areas. The practical ‘hands-on’ sessions teach the children so much more than just how to develop a healthy lifestyle – it allows them to develop the skills of growing their own food, preparing meals for their family and organising a ‘Market Day’, in which they sell the food they have grown to members of our school community. The sessions, which are led by exceptional facilitators, are fun, enjoyable and informative – and it opens up the curriculum in a very engaging and lively way. Watching children and parents working together to prepare meals is such an innovative way of developing home-school links and the feedback from the children has been phenomenal. Thank you Country Trust for your wonderful work at our school.
Richard Curry, Headteacher
St. Paul’s Catholic Primary School, London
I'd just like to thank you, Mark, Sam and Donald again for the wonderful three days that Year Five spent in the Dales with you. They clearly loved every minute that they spent outside discovering the world around them. It was so wonderful to have the opportunity to teach them without them realising that they were learning, and to allow them time away from otherwise very different lives at home in order to really appreciate what they were discovering.
Penny Hughes, Year 5 Class Teacher
Shipley C of E Primary School
We took a child to the farm who cannot walk and cannot talk. This was the first time taking her on a trip so we were a little apprehensive. However there was no need to be, the staff there were fantastic at including her. She came in a pushchair and there were parts of our walk where it would have been difficult to get the pushchair across but the staff helped to lift the chair and the child was included at all times. They made sure she was having a chance to feel things and they spent a lot of time with the girl and communicated well with her. I certainly wouldn’t hesitate to take her again.
Senco - Ditchingham Church of England Primary School
Feedback from Year 6 children from Woolmore Primary School, Tower Hamlets, east London
on a Countryside Discovery Residential visit, Norfolk 2016
Working with The Country Trust, we have this year been able to take some of our most vulnerable children into the countryside to see, hear, smell and learn about farm life. Many were initially anxious about the animals, reluctant to explore the 'big' outdoor space or even to get their hands dirty. Guided and encouraged by The Country Trust volunteers and farmers, the children were soon asking questions and even touching and feeding the animals.
As a teacher I would say that the benefits of visits like these to all children, but especially to the most vulnerable can be life-changing. I have seen anxious children and those with very low self-esteem begin to blossom - as though experiencing a freedom for the first time, they return to school with a new interest and sense of pride that they have accomplished something special.
Two of my most challenging pupils, both eleven year old boys, both from vulnerable, single parent backgrounds and both with a history of challenging behaviour and poor achievement have recently achieved outstanding SAT results. They have done so through sheer hard work but the enjoyment and wonder I witnessed in them on their first farm visit early in the year was a turning point for both of them. Their interest was sparked, their attendance improved and they began at last to enjoy school.
Liz Siwek, Assistant Headteacher,
St Anne’s Catholic Primary School, Keighley
I know money is very tight in this present climate. I know that funding is becoming increasingly more difficult to obtain. However, these residential trips contribute so much to the personal, emotional, experiential growth of children who live in one of the poorest boroughs in the country. We hope that this wonderful opportunity will be able to continue in the future for our children.
Grace Wilson, Year 5 class teacher,
Harbinger Primary School, Tower Hamlets
John Devlin, Headteacher
Our Lady of Victories Catholic School, Keighley
In addition to the letters and quotes above, you can also read other lovely letters here from children from Kings Furlong Junior School.