Burnside Primary School is a community school with pupils from a mix of social and economic backgrounds. The school is situated in a local authority housing estate in the North East of England and has a high number of year 3 children (7-8 years old) who have never visited a working farm.
The Sir Tom Cowie Charitable Trust has made it possible for the school to run a programme of farm visits over the past three years by covering the costs of the visits and transport to ensure all the children can participate and benefit. Burnside Primary School's Year 3 comprises of 30 children who visit Broom House Farm at Witton Gilbert to experience the workings of a farm during the different seasons. These trips are a highlight for the children who get to see a real working farm in action three times during their time in Year 3 and once again when they reach Year 6, when they see the changes that have taken place on the farm.
By giving them this valuable first hand experience they learn about where our food comes from, the livestock on the farm, the work of a farmer, the different seasons, wildlife and machinery. They learn about health and safety procedures at the farm and show great awareness of looking out for moving vehicles, particularly tractors. They are thrilled to see the sheepdog rounding up the sheep and to see lambs being born. They collect eggs from the hens, discuss the uses of the pigs and cows, learn that some animals are sent to the abattoir and returned to the butcher's shop on the farm where they see the produce in the fridges. As well as learning about life on the farm, the children develop their gross motor skills through balance and co-ordination on the many outdoor trails and activities set up in a wooded area of the farm. They also do a nature trail and play educational games.
Head teacher, Mrs Tracey Pizl says, "This is an invaluable resource for our children who benefit hugely from these farm visits. Without exception, the children enjoy the visits tremendously and they are a highlight in the school calendar for many children who would otherwise not have the opportunity to learn through experiencing a real working farm. Many aspects of the curriculum are linked into the visits and social skills are developed including teamwork, verbal and listening skills."
For more information please contact Mrs Tracey Pizl at Burnside Primary School at www.burnsideprimary.com