Bayer launches training fund to help teachers integrate farming into lessons

Pupils from George White Junior School on an educational tour of a farm at Repps with Bastwick in 20

Pupils from George White Junior School on an educational tour of a farm at Repps with Bastwick in 2016. Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press � 2016

Teachers across East Anglia are being encouraged to take advantage of training offered to promote the benefits of incorporating food and farming topics into their lessons.

Agrochemical company Bayer Crop Science has launched a £10,000 fund with the charity Farming and Countryside Education (FACE) to help increase training opportunities for teachers wanting to work with farmers.

Survey work carried out on behalf of both organisations indicated more farmers would like to be involved in educational activities using their farms, but teachers often were unaware of the opportunities that farming can provide.

'Following attending a teacher training course, nine out of 10 teachers incorporate food and farming into their teaching, with 13pc arranging a farm visit within three years of the course,' said Dan Corlett, chief executive of FACE. 'It's all about building confidence with the teachers.'

Michael Muncey, head of Bayer Crop Science in the UK, said by encouraging more teachers to integrate farming into their lessons, he hopes it will persuade both teachers and pupils that farming is a 'career of choice rather than last resort'.

'Many teachers have little knowledge about farming, so these sessions help teachers understand how they can incorporate food, farming and countryside into classroom teaching,' he said.

'Typically the courses are run on a farm, and give teachers ideas about how they can teach all subjects in the curriculum through farming, as well as introducing the idea of farm visits, and giving some helpful information about running such visits.'

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The fund will initially help train more than 150 teachers on farms across the country.

Norfolk and Suffolk teachers should grab this opportunity said Ruth Cannon from Easton and Otley College, who has worked with the University of East Anglia and FACE in recent years helping train student primary school teachers.

'It is immensely important for children to learn about food and where it comes from at a young age. It enables them to make informed decisions about the food they eat, and is an experience that often stays with them for life,' she said.

'These visits also have a positive impact on children's learning, and the farm environment can be linked in many ways into school curriculums.'