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Working to engage, inspire & motivate young people through experiential learning, in order to equip our future generations with balanced and informed insight into food production, farming and the environment

FROM OUR HONORARY PRESIDENT HRH The Countess of Wessex GCVO Farming plays a vital part in all our lives; without it, our ability to feed the world would be under threat. The role of farming is increasingly topical in an era when climate change and food security are of global concern. At a time when issues of children’s health and diet are foremost in the national consciousness, the work of LEAF Education in bringing young people closer to their food and how it is produced, could not be more vital. As increasingly sophisticated consumers of food, our children’s early learning experiences will have a huge impact on the type of consumers they will become tomorrow. Food and farming are topics of great importance to all our lives but, even more significantly, they will involve challenges which future generations will have to face as they become the consumers, parents, politicians, leaders and thinkers of the future. During 2020, LEAF Education has achieved a tremendous amount to inspire, educate, motivate and connect young minds with farming and the natural world. I greatly look forward to continuing to support its work in 2021.

FROM CARL EDWARDS Director, Education & Public Engagement The Coronavirus pandemic and the lockdown in the UK has, inevitably, had a major impact on us, as with most other organisations. Staff have either been working from home or have been furloughed for part of the time. What has been so positive is that as an organisation we have risen to the challenge and adapted how we work with others. Our Regional Education Consultants, being unable to organise farm visits or to go into schools, have undertaken virtual learning programmes with schools and trainee teachers. We have adapted our resources so that they could be used by those home educating for the first time and we have continued to support farmers to be able to continue to support learning about farming and food production. We are incredibly proud of our team and what we have still achieved in the midst of the global pandemic, whilst as a nation we are staying at home, maintaining safe distances from people, curtailing all our normal ways of connecting with others, we continue to look out of our windows on a world teeming with life. The world around is still alive, fresh, vibrant and buzzing with new life. And hope. And we have ensured that we have given young people the opportunity to turn to the natural world around us; and we will welcome them back further, when safe to do so, especially given that lockdown has allowed so many of us to appreciate more the benefits of the outdoors and the importance of food security and quality food which we are proud to grow and rear in the UK. Now more than ever, we need to keep these vital connections alive. Whether it is growing seeds on a windowsill, watching birds, cooking together, making a ‘journey stick’ or keeping a carrot diary – these simple activities can engage, absorb, inspire and motivate. They have the power to reconnect children with the outside world, but I think it is even deeper in some way. The primary thing I think young people (and wider society) get from deeper connections with the outside world – in some strange way – is not feeling as alone.


10, 586

total number of children worked with


rated our work as good or


24, 589

total hours worked with children

SECONDARY SCHOOLS We are proud that we have worked with many secondary school students and their teachers over the past year. We had identified this as a group generally ignored by the industry and have ensured it is part of LEAF Education’s strategy to address this gap.

• LEAF Education’s South East REC was delighted to be asked to meet year 10 Business Studies students at Carter Community College where students were gathering data for their BTEC coursework. • Rugby High School brought Y9 Food Technology students to Mount Pleasant Farm near Birmingham to find out about farm assurance and food production. This was the very first secondary school hosted by the farm and would not have happened without the support of LEAF RECs in the West Midlands and Central areas. The experience has given the farm staff the confidence to repeat the visit with other schools. • Our East of England Consultant visited Wyndham College in Norfolk to introduce the story behind the loaf to Y8 students. This introduced a new dimension to the students’ learning as they had opportunities to identify cereals, consider nutrition and examine how bread is produced. • Students at Judge Meadow Community College enhanced their knowledge when they paid a visit to Tori and Ben’s Leicestershire farm. The teacher commented that she found the practical information the farmers were able to share at great depth was particularly useful and brought to life topics for the students. “The session tied neatly into the curriculum providing an interactive experience for students to retrieve the relevant information for their coursework. My students and I learnt so much; many misconceptions were cleared up and the students were highly engaged in the activities that brought elements of farming into the classroom.”

HEALTH & WELLBEING Something we were already investigating was how our work can support the health and wellbeing of young people. The need for this has increased as a result of the pressures of lockdown and children being unable to attend school and follow a “normal” routine.

Recent research has clearly demonstrated how beneficial time spent in nature is to both our physical and mental health. Now our team members are working on ways of incorporating aspects of health and wellbeing into existing programmes using a selection of creative, mindful and sensory activities, that will help you to relax and discover the benefits of getting in touch with nature. Getting connected with nature is an ideal starting point for further studies in food, farming and the natural environment.

e ev n “I

alk w w ry

ith nature, one


students worked with us to improve Health & Wellbeing Work


students learnt about careers in farming & food production

rece ive

sf ar

m or e than he seeks”

ir u nM h o J

REERS A C This year we have seen an increase in demand for information about careers in the sector.

Our North East REC discussed future careers options with KS4 students in Thirsk and assisted with mock interviews. Meanwhile, students from Great Missenden were able to consider careers at Rode Farm thanks to our Central REC. It’s never too young to start thinking about careers and in the North West our REC took part in “Inspiring the Future”, working with primary age pupils from Preston St Matthews Primary School. In addition, on-farm delivery has become a major focus for our RECs with all school groups. Our LEAF Open Farm School Days have graduated from their link to Open Farm Sunday and are now available all year round. We aim to support each visit and to operate, wherever possible, with farmers who are CEVAS trained.

LEAF EDUCATION DEMONSTRATION SCHOOLS Last year LEAF Education launched its national network of Demonstration Schools, set up to showcase best practice in food and farming education. We launched our first Demonstration Schools in the summer of 2019 and since then we have welcomed three more to include:

Glascote Academy, a large primary school based near Tamworth, Staffordshire embeds outdoor learning in the curriculum and the school is extremely proud of its forest and farm areas which play a significant part in both the children’s school lives and within the life of the local community. The school achieved its Bronze Award with support from our East Midlands Consultant.

Brockhill, a Performing Arts College in Kent which operates its own school farm, Brockhill achieved its Silver Demonstration School Award from our South East Regional Consultant. The school had developed its Greater Outdoors curriculum which encompasses the whole school; were instrumental in working with LEAF Education to develop Farming Fortnight and is now working towards the Gold Award taking part in LEAF Open Farm Sunday, hosting a family nativity in the farmyard, the year 7 Go! Project to name but a few.

Hunter’s Hill Technology College in Bromsgrove attained the Bronze Award which was presented by our West Midlands Consultant. We had facilitated visits to farms in the region, as a result of which farm visits are now a fixture of the year 11 curriculum, with students and external groups which attend Hunter’s Hill completing vocational qualifications.

Hunter’s Hill teacher Hayley Simpkin receiving the school’s Bronze Award from LEAF West Midlands Consultant

HOME EDUCATION HUB In response to the Coronavirus pandemic which witnessed the closure of schools, LEAF Education felt the Countryside Classroom partnership (of which LEAF Education is the lead organisation) had much to offer home educators. Many existing resources were re-designed for home educators and a plan was devised to promote these together with resources from other Countryside Classroom partners. This response was well received by many parents, with 1000s visiting the Home Education Hub each month.

Countryside Classroom saw another year of increases in users to our website by



over 158,000 unique users

134,000 resources accessed

We achieved a

3.6 million reach

(through the media)

TEACHER TRAINING Teachers are the key to providing accurate, up to date subject matter to their pupils and at LEAF Education we are keen to ensure we help the teachers themselves to have the confidence to incorporate food and farming topics into their teaching.

Staff at Oakridge Parochial School in Stroud benefitted from a session provided by our Central REC. They learnt about the wide variety of ways in which their curriculum can be enriched through food and farming topics; considered how to work toward becoming a LEAF Demonstration School and heard all about Farmer Time.

Our West Midlands REC worked with Keele University Associate teachers on Dorrington Farm. Feedback from this event was overwhelmingly positive:

“An amazing day spent on the farm. I have learnt a lot and I can now link this to my teaching.”

“A brilliant day. I think it’s really important to bring children back to the way we sustain ourselves.”

Our North West REC produced a handbook for teachers that covers all the essential aspects of organising school farm visits: from what to include in a risk assessment, to linking visits to the curriculum. There is also information on the types of farms offering visits as well as what to look for on a pre-visit. Alongside this, our REC in the East of England devised an online workshop for trainee teachers which was trialled successfully with the University of East Anglia.

“So much information delivered in such a friendly and supportive manner.”

100% of the teachers we worked with say we have

increased their confidence

to be able to deliver more food & farming work in the classroom

100% of

teachers would recommend our work This year we’ve worked with:

1357 teachers

for 16,309 hours including

106 trainee teachers for 288 hours

FARMING FORTNIGHT One of our recent successes came in the form of Farming Fortnight. Managed by LEAF Education and developed in partnership with Brockhill Park Performing Arts College in Kent, Farming Fortnight (1 – 12 June 2020), saw children, whether they were being taught at home or in school, be inspired about farming. A wide range of engaging and informative learning resources were available for parents and teachers to access via the Countryside Classroom on-line portal. These included videos, topic sheets, lesson plans and case studies – all aimed at bringing the world of farming closer to children. Each day of the campaign had its own farming theme and accompanying social media hashtag – ranging from arable farming (#TractorTuesday), the sheep industry (#WoollyWednesday) through to fruit and vegetable production (#TastyTuesday) to careers in farming (#FutureFarming). Parents and teachers were encouraged to share their learning experiences on social media.

We had over 39,845 page views directly on the Farming Fortnight pages and resources on Countryside Classroom. This was an increase of over tenfold from 2019.

19,000 individuals used the Countryside Classroom Farming Fortnight pages.

This had a subsequent positive impact on the main Countryside Classroom page peaking at 75,000 users to the webpage during #WoollyWednesday. We reached over 120,000 Facebook users – which shared Farming Fortnight in numerous parent and teacher groups.

a T #

#Future y a d s e Farming u T sty ednesday

o #W

yW l l o


a d s e u T r o #Tract

FARMER TIME We’ve seen a big increase in pairings this year, with a total of 524 pairings / 1720 children reached via Farmer Time since the start of the initiative! Farmer Time is a great initiative for both schools and farmers, and incredibly rewarding with 100% of teachers and farmers recommending this to others!! Farmer Time has not actively been pairing teachers and farmers whilst home schooling and lockdown measures were in place but a few schools and farmers have continued to work together.

“I’ve been working with key worker children all socially distanced in class. It was interactive and enjoyable taking up as much or as little time as the day allowed. Investing a little time each week in future generations is very productive. The school were appreciative, and it was enjoyable from my part.” - Farmer Other established partnerships have adapted with innovative ways to bring a little of the farm into the pupils’ homes. Miss Berry from Washingborough Academy, and farmer Christopher Foster are a prime example of this. They have developed a system whereby the farmer sends in video footage to Miss Berry, who then shares these videos over secure pages on social media that her class have access to.

“Farmer Time is honestly one of the most rewarding experiences. The children (and staff) are gaining so much knowledge around farming and food in a fun and interactive way.” - Miss Berry




Internationally, Finland have launched their first year running Farmer Time, and have got off to a good start, with great interest from both farmers and schools.

Denmark is now preparing

to introduce Farmer Time.


224 new pairings equal to


children Farmers:

100% have enjoyed Farmer Time 71% have spoken about careers 96% will be continuing next year

& over


learning hours! Teachers:

100% have enjoyed the

experience, would recommend it to others & will be continuing with Farmer Time next year

68% have completed follow up work in the classroom

96% believe the children have

a better understanding of the food supply chain

BAYER-LEAF AWARDS 2019 The biennial Bayer-LEAF Education Awards, which celebrate the very best of agricultural education initiatives on-farm, in the classroom, or online, took place in November 2019 at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. We received exceptional entries and winners included a company working with 500 children from local schools at their high tech tomato production greenhouse facilities; a working farm offering sessions to primary schools; and a secondary school with its own farm involving every year group through the curriculum time, choice and enrichment activities. You can read all about this year’s winners here:

For me the awards are very much about celebrating the fantastic farmers, growers and educational trusts who put so much of their time into providing amazing experiences for children and young adults, but it is also an opportunity to highlight what makes LEAF Education such a professional and enjoyable organisation to work with. I love the awards ceremony for that combination, in front of an invited audience.” - Dr Julian Little, Bayer

SUPPORTING OUR MEMBERS The support we receive from our members is invaluable. In return, we aim to help our members by offering advice and keeping them up to date with relevant developments in the sphere of education and by providing ideas for new activities to engage schools. LEAF Education held a very successful Networking and Development Day in October 2019 at Beeswax Dyson Farming. Delegates enjoyed a hands-on day to give them the skills, confidence and know-how to engage with teenagers effectively. The interactive event brought together LEAF Education members, other farmers and LEAF’s team of Regional Education Consultants who shared experiences and best practice, highlighting successes and mapping out opportunities linked to the curriculum and exam specifications. Our consultants work closely with LEAF Education members. For example, in the East Midlands we provide support for the Lincolnshire Agricultural Society’s Tractors into Schools project and several team members have been involved in on-line shows such as the Virtual Royal Cheshire Show.

“Amazing resources to get the message across & have fun learning.”

studies was a bit dull, I s s e n i s u ink b h t ondary schools to deliver c o e t s h t d i w e “ I us o work t t i a w can’t farm.” y on m ays arable farming can w e h t d n a derst n u ren in a practical way.” d l i h w c o o t n t h “I be taug

CEVAS We continue to bring together the long-established Access To Farms Partnership which is currently working on updating the Industry Code of Practice Preventing or Controlling Ill Health from Animal Contact at Visitor Attractions. The Countryside Educational Visits Accreditation Scheme (CEVAS) was also born out of this partnership and continues to go from strength to strength with 54 farmers accredited over 10 months, ensuring that farm visits for children and young people are safe, fun and of quality. Thanks to funding received from the NFU Mutual Charitable Trust, we have been able to make a short film in which trainees explain what they have gained from the course. You can watch the film at

ELMS ELMS (Environmental Land Management Scheme) is intended by Defra as the system by which ‘payment for public goods’ fully replaces the Basic Payment and Countryside Stewardship Schemes for farmers by 2028. LEAF is involved in four of the first round of “test and trials”, one of which is concerned with the levers needed for high quality educational access. We are utilising the pre-existing and successful Countryside Educational Visits Accreditation Scheme (CEVAS) developed by the Access to Farmers Partnership and have trained an initial ten farmers. We are proud that CEVAS delivers training across the plethora of outdoor learning, not just on farm, but woodland and parkland settings too, which is why it is so versatile and successful in its approach. It also ensures that those who attend understand the Industry Code of Practice: Preventing and Controlling Ill Health from animal contact. Additionally, it looks at how to ensure visits/opportunities are provided for a wide variety of ages, groups and abilities. We are also talking to a wider range of partners about future ELMS payments. We are working on seeing that ‘educational access’ payments are seen within tier one and tier two (not just tier two) of the new three tier system to maximise the positive impact that this will have on young people, moving forward what might have been seen as a “nice to do” to becoming ever increasingly a “need to do” – whether this is supportive of environmental understanding and engagement, physical and mental health benefits or a genuine passion and desire in our future generations to be more actively involved in the direction of our natural capital. We would hope to see that funding is also available not just as capital investment but also for training and support providing sensible, practical and proportionate guidance to ensure safe, high quality educational visits and experiences. LEAF Education was also asked by Defra to represent our sector on the Defra stakeholder engagement group on education and access for ELMS and we were able to give our insights and opinions on the importance and necessity of high quality, safe educational access on farms. We will continue to make our voices heard on behalf of the industry as the leading educational organisation for the industry.


farmers worked with this year

100% of farmers

rate our training good or


49 CEVAS farmers (by RECS) & 472 CEVAS hours by RECS

18,544 hours

spent with farmers training and promoting the importance of on farm education, and working on joint programmes


LEAF Education leads a number of collaborative groups. We see partnership working as vital to our success as an industry.


Reception children from Lydbrook Primary School in Gloucestershire sampling their new gardening tools

LEAF Education leads 31 partners in the Countryside Classroom initiative which connects schools with food, farming and the natural environment by providing access to teaching resources, venues for school trips and links to advice and inspiration. Recently, Spear and Jackson sponsored a competition in which schools put forward their school gardening plans. Winners received a generous bundle of tools and a raised bed kit. Countryside Classroom will keep in touch with the winning pupils to find out about their progress as young gardeners.

During the lockdown period, our Regional Consultants have not been idle! They have produced a plethora of new resources for use by both primary & secondary schools, many of which can also be utilised by farmers offering school visits in the future. All of the new LEAF Education resources can be found here: for primary & secondary schools.

THANK YOU We are very grateful to our patrons who provide valuable long-term support:

Thanks also to generous funding from: NFU Mutual Charitable Trust and the Garfield Weston Foundation alongside many smaller but equally appreciated grant making trusts.

Last but certainly not least we are indebted to our members.

Our work would not be possible without them all.



Now could not be a more critical time to engage and educate young people, our future generation, with farming, food and the countryside.

Whether you’re com­plete­ly new to work­ing with schools or have been host­ing farm vis­its for years, LEAF Edu­ca­tion can sup­port you to take the next step. There are loads of ways to connect your farm with the classroom and help children experience food, farming and the countryside. Whether you're completely new or are looking for fresh ideas, LEAF Education is here to help with whatever type of activity you choose. Here are some of the ways you can get involved: 1. Farmer Time This is a fortnightly, ten minute Skype or FaceTime call between the farm and the classroom. It's a great way to start engaging with children and young people. We'll match you with a school and help you plan and conduct your first call. 2. Membership By becoming a LEAF Education member you join thousands of like-minded farmers who want to access deeper support to engage with schools both on and off the farm. We directly support members to connect with schools and provide training to expand what you can do. 3. Access Training To get you ready to host your first farm visit, LEAF Education provides training to prepare you to deliver high-quality, safe farm visits. From ensuring safety to designing the experience, our training and resources give you the tools and knowledge to provide excellent educational experiences on the farm. 4. Host your first visit After completing CEVAS training you'll be ready to start hosting farm visits. But our support for LEAF Education members doesn't stop there. Our local RECs can continue to support you and help you develop what you're able to offer. 5. CEVAS + This course is designed for anyone who took the CEVAS qualification over 5 years ago and wishes to update their knowledge and skills in terms of educational visits to farms. You'll discover new ways to engage with schools, raise your standard of curriculum-linked farm visits, fine tune your health and safety practice to ensure you are compliant with the Industry Code of Practice and share best practice and new resources with other farm educators.





Profile for linking-environment-and-farming

LEAF Education - Our Work In Action - 2019-20  

LEAF Education - Our Work In Action - 2019-20  

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