A few months ago, I had the joyful task of visiting Mowbray School, near Bedale, North Yorkshire, for Countryside Magazine.
Mowbray School teaches pupils with special educational needs, but after watching a succession of devoted teachers taking hands-on lessons with enthusiastic children handling chickens, pigs, and ponies, I ended up wishing that every child could go to such a school.
The pupils all seemed eager to participate and learn, and the staff mentioned that many who don’t do well in the classroom thrive in the outdoors, practical lessons.
Work on the farm is related many curriculum areas, including science, maths, enterprise education, and English. Pupils also learn practical skills, not just animal husbandry and horticulture, but woodwork, and the vital ability to work in a team and take responsibility for their tasks.
The Headteacher at Mowbray, Jonathan Tearle, founded the farm because he hoped it would help the pupils to gain skills that would get them into jobs in the local area, where farming is one of the main industries.
With graduates already either working on farms, or at agricultural college, he says, “For parents and for children looking at the school, the farm is a huge attraction.”
Read all about it in the February issue of Countryside Magazine, http://www.countrysideonline.co.uk/the-magazine/from-the-magazine/
Mowbray School, http://mowbray.n-yorks.sch.uk/