We surveyed teachers on 346 day farm visits, teachers and children from 26 schools before and after residential visits, and teachers and children from 15 schools before, during and after year long Food Discovery programmes. We are keen to share these results with all those who are part of The Country Trust, as well as those who have an interest in the health and wellbeing of the next generation and their understanding of food, farming and the countryside.
If you would like to read the full evaluation summary, plus individual evaluation reports for each of our 3 strands of work, please click here
Here is a brief outline from our evaluation summary:
Hands on visits to real working farms and estates are at the heart of our work and between January and July 2016 we received feedback from 224 teachers with extremely positive results. All teachers felt that children had enjoyed their experience and all felt that their children had gained in confidence in the outdoors and in the countryside. 96% of teachers agreed that the visit had given children a better understanding of where their food comes from.
Our evaluation tells us that The Country Trust is successfully helping to address poverty of opportunity. Approximately a third of the children taking part in our residentials in Suffolk, Norfolk and Yorkshire are visiting farms, forests, rivers and beaches for the first time, a figure that increases to 40% for children on our Suffolk residentials. Visits to farms and the countryside are amazing opportunities to build a rich bank of experiences vital to language, literacy, social relationships, self-esteem and aspirations.
Learning is sustained and transformative - 77% of our Food Discovery children went on to cook one or more recipes at home, and 61% of children said that they particularly enjoyed tasting new foods, a huge step for some children who really fear new tastes and textures and have very limited diets as a result. Growing, tasting and cooking food, learning where and how it is produced for us, and meeting those who produce it helps children and adults to develop a healthy, happy and confident relationship with food.
The benefits of our programmes, especially farm visits, can be particularly strong for pupils with additional needs, with very positive feedback received for visits including children with behavioural issues, autism, visual and mobility impairments. All teachers felt that their farm visit brought real opportunities for their reluctant learners to engage with the visit and the learning opportunities and experiences it offered.