Farming fun will sow the seeds for a bright future

Peterhouse primary school, in Gorleston is planning a new kitchen garden and farm complete with hors

Peterhouse primary school, in Gorleston is planning a new kitchen garden and farm complete with horses and chickens.They have a double decker bus which will be transformed into a activities area.Pupils Kagan Mete and Ellie Platten-Harper with Tony Bellinger and Karen Taylor.Picture: James Bass - Credit: James Bass

There's not much to see, except enthusiasm in spades...

But chickens, two Shetland ponies and a cottage garden will soon all be helping children to blossom as their school starts up a farm.

Pupils at Peterhouse Primary School in Gorleston are set to be tilling the soil and growing their own, as pens and text books are swapped for seed packets and trowels.

This week staff are appealing for help and hope that ultimately the whole community will get involved transforming a redundant patch of land into what is believed to be Norfolk's first school farm.

Key stage two leader Tony Bellinger is leading the project with Year 5 teacher Karen Taylor who both want to do more activities outside.

Mr Bellinger said he hoped the farm would have a positive effect on all aspects of school life adding excitement to the timetable and another hands-on dimension to their learning - involving rolled-up sleeves and dirty hands.

The school has also bought a double decker bus, which will sit alongside the farm, helping to engage students - particularly boys - away from the classroom.

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And while there is an obvious fun element there are also relevant lessons to learn about how things grow from seed and change their state in the cooking process and so on.

The project will take around three years to get up and running and cost around £8000, some of which the school has set aside.

'Tomorrow we are going to start building the paddock at a disused corner at the end of the car park, probably 50m by 50m. The children are all super-excited. They have been asking lots of questions, the parents are on board and we have had lots of offers of help.

'It is all about creating a nice environment and making it real,' Mr Bellinger said.'Our real drive at the moment is writing - especially with boys - so giving them something from the real world like the bus could really spark their imaginations.

'It is going to be brilliant, a really enjoyable and exciting project.'

Mr Bellinger, an outdoor instructor and Search and Rescue volunteer, believes he has found two ponies who should be on site and settling in to their stables before Christmas.

The aim of the farm is also to get parents more involved at the 360-pupil primary.

'Its just about making it exciting and trying to spark their imaginations and bring their learning to life.

'My passion is to get children out of the classroom and get them excited.'

The school is looking for donations of materials and expertise like woodwork or metalwork. Also anyone with animal care skills is invited to help and possibly give a talk to the children.

People can contact the school via farm.peterhouse@gmail.com.

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