Farms + teaching = results! The importance of outdoor learning centres to education

What can you learn about science on a farm? Quite a lot, as a new report by the National Farmers Union (NFU) shows.

The report, Inspiring STEM learning though agriculture, contains a wealth of information about how closely agriculture is tied to Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths lessons, known as STEM in the world of education.

At Thrings we’ve seen this first-hand in our work with schools and our role as partners of the Hampshire-based Countryside Education Trust, which connects children and others with rural life and farming through residential stays, visits and outdoor learning.

The NFU commissioned a YouGov survey to investigate the effect of the pandemic on teaching science in primary schools. The survey, which involved more than 1,000 primary school teachers, also investigated which environments primary school teachers think allow for the best learning of STEM subjects.

The survey found that 89% of respondents believed teaching about farming at primary school level was important, with the NFU noting how many curriculum topics such as life cycles and habitats, food chains and food technology were all directly linked to agriculture.

Minette Batters, NFU President, notes: “Farming provides an incredibly innovative and exciting way to promote STEM learning in a way the younger generation might not have seen before and we have spent time working with schools to help teachers deliver all-important STEM subjects using real-life farming examples. It’s been hugely rewarding with countless teachers telling us of grassroot level triumphs, as pupils discover a whole new subject area that was previously uninspiring to them.”

Outdoor learning centres such as the Countryside Education Trust have suffered greatly during the pandemic, because lockdown prevented incoming-generating visits and residential stays. As this article reports, many feel this is disadvantageous to underprivileged groups, such as those from inner cities, who would normally benefit from experiencing rural activities. Some centres have unfortunately, closed their doors for good.

The Countryside Education Trust welcomes support in many forms, from donations to cover the cost of a child’s residential visit to an appeal to cover the cost of a new goose house! Find out more about how to support the Trust here.

To find out more how our agriculture experts can help you and your business, please click here.