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Welcome to your Spring issue of the LEAF Education newsletter! 

We are still in difficult times but Spring is upon us to raise our spirits! Here at LEAF Education we continue to be very busy especially through virtual projects and look forward to the days soon when we can get back out to welcome school groups onto farm.

Thank you to all our members. With your help we can work with more teachers, families and children across England and Wales to foster an interest in, and better understanding of food production, farming and the environment.

If you are not yet a member and want to find out more about the benefits of membership, please find out more here 

Contents

LEAF Education News

More art and craft videos - get out and be creative!

In the autumn edition of the LEAF Education e-newsletter, we introduced some fantastic art and craft projects inspired by farming and the countryside and developed by Bobbie, our Regional Education Consultant based in the East Midlands.  There are now more of these to help you and the children you work with get creative with leaves, hay, grass, wool and more! 

Find them here 

Poetry competition - winners announced! 

During the autumn term, West Midlands REC, Brian Hainsworth, organised a poetry competition based on the theme of harvest.

We were delighted by the number and quality of entries received from schools. The entries were shortlisted by the LEAF Education team and farmer Rob Kynaston was given the unenviable task of choosing the overall winner. The award went to St Margaret’s CE Junior School in Whitnash, Leamington Spa. Individual prizes were also distributed and, when the situation allows, St Margaret’s will be receiving  a free visit from the Farm on Wheels!

Congratulations to all who entered - keep up those writing skills!

Worm workshop

LEAF RECs Brian Hainsworth and Liz Lake carried out a virtual worm workshop with Our Lady’s Catholic Primary School. Brian showed the pupils how to sample worms safely in their home or school garden. You can watch the video here. Worksheets and guidance notes were also created to show how important soils and worms are in helping prevent climate change.  

Why not encourage your school contacts to have a go at The Big Worm Hunt Competition running this term on Countryside Classroom

Working virtually

At this difficult time when face-to-face farm tours cannot take place during the pandemic because of the lockdown situation, our Regional Education Consultants have risen to the challenge and devised some fantastic virtual farm tours!  These have often involved the learning of new skills to ensure the end results are as professional as possible without incurring excessive costs.  

We are the first to accept that these can never replace the value of actual tours where students can experience at first hand the sights, sounds and total atmosphere of a real farm visit but we accept the current restrictions have helped us to be creative.

Take a look at some examples of the amazing work we have undertaken.

Do farmers use robots?  

This was the question used to stimulate discussion during four Teacher CPD sessions hosted in January and February by LEAF Education.
 
Secondary and sixth form teaching staff joined the hour-long sessions to learn more about Careers in Agriculture. Staff had the opportunity to develop their understanding of modern agriculture and the range of careers available to young people. Resources relating to Careers Guidance were highlighted, as well as how Agriculture can relate to other curriculum areas such as STEM.
 
By the end of the session teaching staff were more confident in their own understanding of the sector, as well as helping young people discover the wonderful range of exciting opportunities available to them in this developing industry.

Storytelling

A new project has been exciting the LEAF Education team and we hope children have been inspired by it too!
In celebration of National Storytelling Week (30th January - 6th February 2021), several of our team members created videos of themselves reading stories based on farming or the countryside.
 
West Midlands Regional Education Consultant, Brian Hainsworth brings to life the storybook he wrote himself ‘Boris the Lost Badger’. On a farm just outside York Sam Wyman, with the help of some real-life chickens, reads ‘The Little Red Hen’ and investigates the hen’s favourite food – wheat. Meanwhile, Bethan Simons is surrounded by cows on her Pembrokeshire dairy farm while she recounts the tale ‘Methu Symud.’
 
Watch out for more stories and videos! Stories are not just for Storytelling Week so do access them whenever you want to sit back with your class or visiting group and enjoy a good story.
 
You can find all the videos here
 

NEW Lambing project 

LEAF Education is launching an exciting new project to engage nursery and primary school pupils with the work that takes place behind the scenes in the run up to and during the lambing season in April.
 
The project will target pupils from EYFS, KS1 and KS2 (ages 4 – 11) and will share weekly lambing videos sent directly from a farm in Yorkshire. The pre-recorded videos will be available for schools to download and are designed to show young people how a farm works without leaving the classroom.
 
The video content will cover many parts of the science curriculum including the following:

  • How farmers prepare for lambing including scanning
  • What happens during the birth of a lamb
  • How farmers care for young animals
  • How and when farmers turn the lambs out
  • How farmers look after sheep including herding and feeding
  • Why farmers keep sheep, including what wool is used for and how it is sheared
Find out more here and contact [email protected] to sign up for lambing videos

Help for home educators

The Countryside Classroom Home Education Hub has proved very popular with parents and teachers alike. The end of home schooling is now in sight but the resources will remain available and can continue to be downloaded. Countryside Classroom is carrying on with its weekly blogs highlighting resources for use with pupils whether at home, in the classroom or outdoors.  Most recent topics have included wellbeing, careers and cultivating. Take a look here:

We hope you enjoy our resources and would love to see some of your work - share them on Twitter @CountryClassrm, #CountrysideClassroom.

Members' News

Members inspire careers work 

Our South East REC, Jo Hatton, has been raising awareness amongst secondary students and their teachers of careers in the farming and food production arenas.

Sullington Manor Farm helped Jo to film video content that will be made available to 1200 Portsmouth students at a virtual careers fair to be launched later this year.  LEAF Education members Staunton Country Park, Tuppenny Barn and The Green House, Sussex have also worked with Jo on video content to support careers awareness.

Although videos cannot replace the experience of an actual farm visit, these films will have a legacy beyond the restrictions of the current pandemic when they will be used to supplement farm visits and our grateful thanks go to all these members who have been so enthusiastic and generous with their time.

One Health schools resource  

(Photo credit: Jessica Dobson)

LEAF Education long-standing member, the National Office of Animal Health (NOAH) has helped the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) on its excellent One Health resource for schools.  It shows working together locally, nationally, and globally achieves the best outcome for human health, animal health and the environment. Covering topics such as disease prevention, combatting antimicrobial resistance (AMR), animal diseases and the future of medicines and vaccines, all from a One Health perspective, it includes a wealth of really useful information.

Farms for City Children Update 

It has been an interesting year at Farms for City Children! Our charitable activity is based around subsidised, week-long residential countryside, food, and farming trips for primary school pupils from urban and disadvantaged backgrounds. The immersive experience of spending quality time outdoors and getting hands on with farming life would be the perfect antidote for all the children struggling with life in lockdown.

Sadly, the Department for Education's ongoing advice against overnight stays has prevented schools from travelling and halted our usual operations back in March 2020; but it has also brought some exciting new opportunities for us to shake up the way we do things, and who we welcome to our farms.  Pre-Covid, most of the school children who visited our farms came from cities far away, with children travelling more than three hours by coach to our farms in Pembrokeshire, Gloucestershire, and Devon. With those city children stuck in their local area during lockdown, we turned instead to the children in our local communities to see how we could help.
  
Read more 

The Country Trust - taking the farm to the front room

If this were a normal academic year, educational charity The Country Trust would be busy taking children to visit real working farms, running in-school cooking and growing sessions and leading countryside residential visits.  But when schools reopened after the summer and many decided educational visits were simply not possible, the Trust had to rethink. 

Aware that many of the children they work with had spent months over the summer barely able to leave their homes and without any outdoor space, the Trust worked with teachers to design a programme that brought the farm to the school:  A farm… in a box.

During the Autumn term, Country Trust staff delivered 67 separate Farm in a Box experiences to 2,161 children.  Farm in a Box was designed to meet teachers’ priorities and is linked throughout to the National Curriculum with language, communication and well-being woven through every Farm in a Box day. 

Read more

Worshipful Company of Farmers 'Question Time'

(Photo: Master of the Farmers’ Company, Richard Whitlock)

200 viewers joined The Worshipful Company of Farmers (WCF) ‘Question Time’ debate, with panellists Minette Batters, NFU; Professor Sir Charles Godfray, Oxford University; Dr Darren Moorcroft, The Woodland Trust and Ian Wright, The Food and Drink Federation.

Chaired by the Master of the Farmers’ Company, Richard Whitlock, the panel believe it is possible for agriculture to get to net zero.  Read more

Notices

CEVAS online launched

LEAF Education team members have been working to update the well established and successful Countryside Educational Visits Accreditation Scheme (CEVAS). In particular, we have devised an online version to enable training to take place at a time when face-to-face meetings are still not possible.

The course will continue to offer the same content covering such important topics as marketing your location to schools, ensuring health and safety standards are met, developing activities to match the curriculum and speaking to pupils and teachers. However, the online version involves attendance at six shorter sessions rather than the standard two-day course. Participants will still need to collate a portfolio for submission to attain accreditation from the Open College Network but help and assistance is available all the way!

The first pilot course will be running through March and April and it is planned to run more online courses depending on demand. Of course, the long-term hope is to resume face-to face courses located on farms when restrictions are lifted.

For details of all courses, click here

#LOFS21 

  • LEAF Open Farm Sunday 2021fifteenth anniversary LOFS. Farmers across the British Isles are encouraged to start planning to open their farm gates in June and welcome visitors onto farms for socially distanced farm walks and talks to discover the world of farming. Following the recent government announcements the date is being reviewed and the LOFS team will announce the new date very soon.  For up to date information visit www.farmsunday.org and LOFS on social media.
  • LEAF Online Farm Sunday, 28th March 2021 & 26th September 2021 – two Sundays packed with virtual farm tours, videos, photos and farming stories broadcast across social media to give the public an insight into different farm enterprises - all in a day!
  • 1st Sunday of each month, more virtual farm visits – broadcast live on LOFS Facebook, featuring a different farmer each month throughout the year. Next visit: Sunday 7th March 2pm, meet Rhian Pierce will be welcoming viewers to Plas Dolben in the stunning Clwydian Hills to find out about farming in North Wales and see some of her livestock – hopefully including some lambs and piglets!
 Please like and share LOFS social media posts #LOFS21:
  • Facebook:  @LEAFOpenFarmSunday
  • Twitter:  @OpenFarmSunday
  • Instagram:  @OpenFarmSunday

Farmer Time

In spite of the challenges of online learning, Farmer Time is continuing to develop throughout the UK with teachers and farmers coming up with innovative ways to deliver something a little different to their class. Teachers are particularly keen to involve their classes in something other than a series of PowerPoint presentations!

We’re still looking for farmers to engage in Farmer Time and offer a unique learning opportunity for young people. If this is something you’d like to be involved in register here.

Food and Drink Trends

Our friends at Waitrose have kindly shared with us their fascinating food and drink trends report showing how our relationship with food and how we consume it has changed during 2020. We hope you enjoy reading it. 
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LEAF Education
Stoneleigh Park
Warwickshire
CV8 2LG

Telephone: 024 7641 3911
Email: [email protected]
www.leafuk.org/education






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LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming) · National Agricultural Centre · Avenue J, Stoneleigh Park · Kenilworth, Warwickshire CV8 2LG · United Kingdom