NFU transforms London school into farm

Children at an urban primary school in the centre of London got the chance to delve into life as a farmer as they ditch the textbooks and don their wellies to take part in a host of exciting farming activities this week.

As part of eight-year-old Afeefa Haroon’s grand prize for winning the NFU’s Farmvention competition this year, her school has undergone a transformation from urban primary school to farm, where children are learning about what it takes to be a British farmer and a custodian of the countryside.

Some of the activities included:

  • Ronald Ross ‘farm’ with sheep, goats and ponies;
  • Flying drones;
  • Bug hotels;
  • Pizza and yoghurt making;
  • Hatching chicks;
  • Potato harvesting.

The competition, which taught science, technology, engineering and maths through the lens of food and farming, was a huge success, received over 1,000 entries from schools spread all over the country. It is now being rolled out for a second year.

This is all part of the NFU’s aim to reconnect children with the countryside and rural life, develop their understanding of agriculture and provide the information needed so they can maintain a healthy, balanced diet in the future.

Getting children excited about farming

NFU president Minette Batters said: “It has been great to see so many children here today getting excited about food and farming, asking about where the food they love comes from and how farmers produce it.

“That’s what our Farmvention competition is all about – bridging the gap between the next generation, especially those in urban areas, and the food on their plates.

“The education system has such an important role to play in opening children’s minds to new opportunities.

“The success of this year’s Farmvention competition shows how well the food and farming context fits within STEM learning and offers children the chance to explore and experience a completely new area that they otherwise might miss.”

Ronald Ross headteacher Abby Brady said: “Farmvention has shown our pupils that there are amazing opportunities awaiting them in Britain’s countryside. It has really helped broaden their horizons, especially as many of the children haven’t even been outside of London.

As a headteacher, there’s nothing better than pupils who are enthusiastic about learning and it’s been amazing to see them so excited to experience new things, from making pizzas and flying drones to brushing ponies and caring for newly-hatched chicks.

“I think it’s safe to say that all the children have loved stepping into the shoes of our wonderful farmers. It’s a day they’ll remember long into the future.”