Lambs loaned to urban schools to teach city children about farming
- Credit: Keiron Tovell
Six Norfolk schools will look after lambs and ewes next week as part of a pilot educational project to help urban youngsters learn about farming.
The Food and Farming Discovery Trust has teamed up with LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming) Education, the Rare Breeds Survival Trust and Chapelfield Veterinary Partnership to bring livestock into schools from March 25 to 29.
The project, sponsored by agricultural machinery firm Ben Burgess, aims to give children ranging from reception to high school age the chance to learn about animal husbandry, and to engage schools in food and farming education.
Schools taking part include four in Norwich – Sparhawk Infant and Nursery, Eaton Hall Specialist Academy, Mile Cross Primary and The Clare School – along with Loddon Junior School and Peterhouse Primary Academy in Gorleston.
They will be provided with everything they need to care for the animals and a comprehensive briefing to ensure that they adhere to the best health and safety and husbandry practices during the week. A variety of ideas on how to incorporate the project into the curriculum will also be provided, to help schools make the most of their livestock visit.
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Tony Bellinger, education manager for the Food and Farming Discovery Trust, said: 'We believe this opportunity will provide teachers with a unique way to deliver parts of the curriculum, whilst offering pupils with an enriched learning experience.
'Not only will this project give an insight to a career in agriculture but will also help to encourage nurturing qualities and build self-esteem.'
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The Southdown sheep are being provided by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust whose chairman, Gail Sprake, said: 'You can make an assumption that Norfolk is a rural county, but there are lots of inner city areas with urban deprivation.
'These children will get the chance to look after animals overnight, and for a whole week from Monday to Friday, and that is not an experience they would have had otherwise.'
There are plans to increase the number of farmers and schools involved next year in the project, which forms part of the Food and Farming Discovery Trust's wider programme of events and initiatives to promote focused learning about food and farming across Norfolk.