NFU pack encourages 97% of teachers to link farming to science curriculum

More than nine out of 10 teachers who used new education resources prepared by the National Farmers’ Union think food and farming are a great fit for teaching STEM subjects.

The survey invited the views of the teachers who had used the NFU’s education scheme, ‘Farming STEMterprise’, which aims to bring food and farming into the national curriculum.

The free resources take Key Stage 2 children (aged seven to 11) through every step of setting up a farm shop business – from growing their own ingredients and using market research to test ideas, to designing responsible packaging and calculating expected profit.

After implementing the NFU’s resources within their lessons, 97% of teachers surveyed said they associated farming with teaching Science, 95% said it had a place within Design and Technology and 91% said the same for Maths.

Prior to using these resources, only 23% of teachers had considered farming to be relevant to their curriculum teaching.

In its manifesto, the NFU highlights the effectiveness of teaching STEM subjects through the lens of food and farming – building children’s understanding of food and the environment and delving into the science behind production.

NFU president Minette Batters said: “First and foremost, the national curriculum needs to be socially relevant and useful to children.

As the country works towards a healthier and greener Britain, increasing young people’s understanding of food provenance and production is becoming ever more important.

“Embedding food and farming within STEM learning can help the next generation navigate their way through the future dietary, environmental and career decisions that will inevitably come their way.

“By putting children in touch with farming, the countryside and rural life, they can learn how to protect the environment and encourage biodiversity, understand the benefits of a healthy, balanced diet and what this looks like, and appreciate British farming’s role in overcoming the greatest challenge of our time – climate change.

These resources also offer huge benefits to teachers. Not only are they free, but they are specifically designed to reduce workload and do not require any prior knowledge on the subjects within it.

Since its launch a year ago, the NFU Education team has worked with nearly 800 teachers across the country.

“It’s fantastic to see so many schools getting behind food and farming as a tool for them to teach, and seeing children increase their understanding of real-life farm business and all the challenges and opportunities that come with it,” Batters added.

“Time and time again we have seen Farming STEMterprise ignite children’s passion for STEM subjects, and that’s what it’s all about.”