LEAF Education | Our Work in Action | 2020-2021

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From HRH The Countess of Wessex GCVO Our Honorary President

LEAF Education, in partnership with our members, works to engage, inspire and motivate young people through experiential learning, in order

From Carl Edwards Director, Education & Public Engagement This year has again provided us with an opportunity to think outside the box, to come together collectively and consider how we can continue to engage, inspire and motivate young

to equip them

people, their teachers and families about food production,

with balanced

farming and the natural environment. This has been coupled

and informed insight into food production, farming and the natural environment. We work across the education and agricultural sectors to mobilise farmers and educators to bring food production, farming and the environment into a learning context

with a near five-fold increase in the number of young people we worked with this year. Across society we are seeing more people talk about where their food comes from, the people that produce it and more sustainable diets. Over the last year, we have been immensely proud to see how the industry has stepped up to meeting this growing interest. We thank all our members, patrons, sponsors and supporters for the continued commitment to LEAF Education – this has enabled us to meet the demand. Over three years ago we launched LEAF Education and still today I am incredibly proud of what we have achieved and our growing offer as the voice of agriculture for education. We continue to promote food production, farming and the natural environment as vehicles to deliver National Curricula and Exam Specifications from 4 year olds to 18 year olds. Our engagement with Government continues to grow. Throughout the year we have worked to raise the profile of the farming industry and the impact of our work with Defra, The Department for Education and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. Raising awareness of the role of farming in improving academic capability or mental health and wellbeing, as well as the many career opportunities in the landbased sector remains a key focus. One independent

and embed an

research company said recently that they cannot believe the


opportunities that LEAF Education delivers for all who work

of farming into everyday life.

with us and how in terms of wider engagement we provide answers. Again, I thank everyone we have had the opportunity to work with over the last academic year and look forward to what 2021-2022 will bring.

Our work with schools 74,044 children worked with directly



hours working with young people

Over a million

engaged with us over social media

Virtual work... Visits to farms were hindered because of pandemic restrictions in 2020 and 2021. Nonetheless, LEAF Education continued to find innovative ways to engage students in learning about farming and food production. Arts and crafts Bobbie Harvey, our Regional Education Consultant (REC) based in the East Midlands, has been busy making a series of videos of simple art and craft ideas for all ages. These art activities celebrate autumn leaves, hay meadows, soil, sheep, weather, arable crops, wool and more! Find them here.

’s Bobbie videos d an attracte ce of audien

45,0e0rs0 view

Sheep and lambs… and cows! We launched an exciting new project in early 2021 to give nursery and primary school pupils a behind the scenes glimpse into sheep farming and lambing. We shared weekly lambing videos direct from a farm in Yorkshire. The project targeted pupils from EYFS, KS1 and KS2 (ages 4 – 11) and shared weekly lambing videos sent directly from a farm in Yorkshire. The pre-recorded videos are available for schools to download and are

Over 5



ls sign ed up to receiv e the lambi ng vid eos!

designed to show young people how a farm works without leaving the classroom. The videos cover a wide range of topics related to the science curriculum including: • • • • • •

How farmers prepare for lambing including scanning What happens during the birth of a lamb How farmers care for young animals How and when farmers turn the lambs out How farmers look after sheep including herding and feeding Why farmers keep sheep, including what wool is used for and how it is sheared

such a “There was d school buzz aroun dren and the chil rately were despe the next waiting for ” instalment…

Our lambing project was so popular that we extended it with a series of Dairy Updates looking at what cows eat and how they are milked. We have been greatly encouraged by the fabulous questions that we have received from children as young as four. “The children absolutely loved the animal close-ups, especially when the cow was trying to lick your camera! We could see the colours of their noses and even whiskers! We love watching these videos ... the discussions after watching could go on all day if I allowed it! Thank you so much!” “The children were so engaged watching this video - it really helps to develop questioning and communication skills being able to talk around a subject like this - many thanks!” Watch the videos now! Dairy Update 1 Dairy Update 2 Dairy Update 3

Worm workshop LEAF Education West Midlands REC Brian Hainsworth and Central Region REC Liz Lake carried out a virtual worm workshop with Our Lady’s Catholic Primary School in Alcester. Brian showed the pupils how to sample worms safely in their home or school garden. Worksheets and guidance notes were also created to show how important soils and worms are in helping tackle climate change.

Careers sessions Following our teenager research that we conducted a number of years ago, which revealed that young people rarely receive careers advice about the landbased sector, we held several online sessions with teachers and career experts to highlight the huge range of opportunities available.


rated the session as very good or excellent


recomm end the sess ion to a colleag ue


3,500 le

young peop would directly benefit from the sessions

Poetry competition During the autumn term, Brian, our West Midlands REC, organised a poetry competition based on the theme of harvest. We were delighted by the number and quality of entries received from schools. The entries were shortlisted by the LEAF Education team and farmer Rob Kynaston was given the unenviable task of choosing the overall winner. The award went to St Margaret’s CE Junior School in Whitnash, Leamington Spa where the children received a free visit from the Farm on Wheels!

In person work... In spite of the ongoing COVID-19 challenges of the past year, there have still been opportunites for those all-important face-to-face meetings and visits outdoors. We were encouraged by the determination of many schools to return to the ‘great outdoors’! Business Studies initiative A hands-on Business Studies initiative created by Jo Hatton, our South East REC, and Year 11 pupils at Ballard School, an independent school for children aged 2-16, has helped to shape future marketing plans for Ringwood company, Avon Organics, a family-run agricultural business producing and delivering organic beef, lamb, eggs and vegetable boxes locally. Rather than just learning the academics of GCSE Business Studies, pupils have been applying their knowledge to real-life scenarios: to identify marketing goals, analyse competitors, outline a target market, and create a full strategy of marketing ideas. The owners of Avon Organics, Chris and Carolyn Snow, said: “We were absolutely astounded with the plans put forward. It was like they’d been put forward by professional consultants, rather than GCSE pupils. They were so good that we just have to use them. They are packed with fresh and exciting ideas that we never would have thought of.”

National competition For the third year running, we have worked with Coleg Cambria at its Llysfasi site, to organise a national competition in Food, Farming and the Environment for secondary school. Learning lessons from the popularity of previous competitions, several semi-finals were held in the first instance during which students attended a farm visit in their region, and as a result prepared a video entry to answer the hypothesis: “farmers will continue to be the guardians of the land and environment”. During the weekend experience, schools then debated whether “farming can become more carbon neutral”. We were so impressed with their thoughtful and well evidenced answers and very encouraged that all students argued “yes it can”.



of stud ents w ho have a ttende d th weeke nd so f e ar have g one on to land-b ased college s

The legume project We have played a key role in an important project taking science outside the classroom. Year 9 and 12 students from six secondary schools in Norfolk prepared and sowed trial legume plots, before conducting a range of experiments to test their nitrogen fixation properties and their impact on the growth of intercropped spring wheat. The project has helped develop students’ scientific knowledge and skills as well as raise awareness of global issues related to more sustainable farming. It has also enabled students to learn in an ‘outdoor lab’ and gain an insight into the work of crop scientists and agronomists.

LEAF Education Demonstration Schools The number of LEAF Education Demonstration Schools continues to increase – with 11 Demonstration Schools across England and 17 other schools that we are currently working with across England and Wales. LEAF Education Demonstration Schools show commitment to using food production, farming and the countryside as part of their broad and balanced curriculum. This year we have been delighted to welcome: Our Lady’s Catholic Primary School, Alcester (Bronze Award, July 2021) The school has made a tremendous effort to embed food, farming and the environment into the curriculum through a range of activities with Oversley Hill Farm and Forest, meeting the farmer and animals, finding out what is growing in local fields and understanding where their food comes from. Our Lady’s have also run a harvest festival, gardening competitions and teamed up with LEAF Education consultants to take part in interactive workshops investigating the importance of good soil health in battling climate change. John Hanson Secondary School, Andover (Bronze Award, June 2021) The school held a year 7 PSHE day, looking at climate change and our South East REC ran workshops with their 160 year 7 students looking at food security, traceability and career opportunities within the rural economy. They also ran a competition to redesign their school allotment and look at ways it could be used to enhance learning across the school.

Home learning While the great majority of children were not attending school during pandemic lockdown periods, we felt the Countryside Classroom partnership (of which LEAF Education is the lead organisation) had much to offer home educators. Take a look here at our Home Education Hub. During the second lockdown, which lasted for 5 weeks, the Home Education Hub reached almost 200,000 people, with 750,000 social media impressions, 800 resources downloaded, and 6,000 visits to the website. We developed weekly themes for our resources during the first part of 2021.

200,000 people reached

750,000 social media impression s


visits to the website


resources downloaded

In celebration of National Storytelling Week (30th January - 6th February 2021), several of our team members created videos of themselves reading stories based on farming or the countryside. The videos received an amazing 10,

800 views during the week!

Our West Midlands REC, Brian Hainsworth, brought to life the storybook he wrote himself ‘Boris the Lost Badger’. On a farm just outside York, Sam Wyman, our REC in the North East, read ‘The Little Red Hen’ and investigated the hen’s favourite food – wheat, with the help of some real-life chickens. Meanwhile, Bethan Simons, our REC in Wales, recounted the tale ‘Methu Symud’ in Welsh, surrounded by cows on her Pembrokeshire dairy farm. You can find all the videos here.

Training Sustainable Healthcare for our Future We are proud to be a lead partner in a pioneering new on-farm initiative to educate and engage medical students about sustainability, food production and farming. Sustainable

Supporting teachers



hours h spent wit teachers


Healthcare for Our Future is working with Quorn Foods, The Great

teachers trained & support ed

Tew Estate and Nutritank to offer trainee medics and health care professionals the opportunity to learn about the food system and practices surrounding sustainable food and farming. The initiative follows research from Nutritank, an innovative information hub of food, nutrition and lifestyle medicine, in which medical students reported they received as little as two hours of nutrition training during a five / six-year course. This is despite nutrition playing a major role in combatting many chronic diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease. The pilot course, which launched in April 2021, saw 63 trainee medics participate in two training workshops – held virtually and onfarm. 100% of students said that the sessions increased their confidence in understanding where food comes from and sustainable approaches with 100% agreeing that more needs to be done to connect the health and food production sectors.

100ch% ers

of tea nd recomme our CPD training

Farming Fortnight Farming Fortnight returned for a third year, running from the 7th to 18th June. A wide range of new engaging and informative learning resources, covering

# Ta s tyTu

e s d ay

all key stages for teachers, was produced by some of the LEAF Education RECs and was made available through Countryside Classroom. Comprising videos, topic sheets, lesson plans and

3 208s,o2f 3 the


view resources

downloa ds of the resource s f rom Country side Classroo m

activities, the resources were all aimed at bringing the world of farming closer to young people. Each day of the campaign had its own farming theme and accompanying social media hashtag – ranging from dairy





(#MilkingMonday), sheep (#WoollyWednesday) and fish farming (#FishyFriday), through to fruit and vegetable


#Fish yFrida y

production (#TastyTuesday). This year we saw over 208,233 views of the resources online and over social media with a further 3,335 downloads of the resources directly from the Countryside Classroom website.

#Woo lly Wed ne sd ay


Our work with farmers CEVAS Online launched This year, we have updated the well established and hugely successful CEVAS (Countryside Educational Visits Accreditation Scheme) devising an online version so that training could take place remotely. The course continues to offer the same content covering such important topics as marketing your location to schools, ensuring health and safety standards are met, developing activities to match the curriculum and speaking to pupils and teachers. The online version involves attendance at six shorter sessions rather than the standard two-day course. Participants still need to collate a portfolio for submission to attain accreditation from the Open College Network but help and assistance is available all the way! The first pilot course ran through March and April and more online courses are now on offer. Face-to face courses located on farms have also resumed alongside the virtual offer.


farme trained & supported



hours spent with farmers

Code of Practice We are all experienced at hand washing now but this is particularly important on farms when touching animals and is not the only measure needed to keep visitors safe. The Access To Farms Partnership, of which LEAF Education is the leading organisation, revised the very important Industry Code of Practice “Preventing or Controlling Ill Health from Animal Contact at Visitor

Supporting our members The support we receive from our members is invaluable. In return, we aim to help 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



The Code of Practice, aimed

During the year we have

at the owners, operators and managers of such visitor premises, helps to ensure visitor health and safety by providing sensible, practical and proportionate guidance on preventing or controlling ill health at visitor attractions. It provides guidance, including

offered online networking sessions for our members. Farmer John Plumb from Southfields Farm, Coleshill hosted one session and shared resoures and activity ideas. The event drew farmers from three different geographical

pictures, of practical measures


that can be applied at each

Four of our RECs covering

premises to help comply with the law and keep visitors safe. The examples are from businesses, ranging from conventional farms that open to the public for one day a year to attractions that may cater for hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. Find the Code here.

the Eastern Region of England collaborated to offer an online members’ event and hosted 19 LEAF Education members during a very successful and interactive session.

Partnerships In addition to LEAF Education’s core work, we lead several collaborative groups. We see partnership working as vital to our success as an industry. Impacts from our partnerships include...

Countryside Classroom


LEAF Education leads 33 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.

158,000 visitors i n the last 12 months

Countryside Classroom Passport: An exciting new activity booklet aimed at primary school aged children was launched in July. The Countryside Classroom Passport has three sections with a range of challenges asking children to find out, write, make, draw, do, and visit, all themed around food, farming and the natural environment. The booklet is the culmination of several innovative ideas drawn from Countryside Classroom partners and our Regional Education Consultants. Elizabeth Lake from Countryside Classroom said: “The Passport is designed to encourage young learners to investigate many topical issues such as food waste, quality assurance labels and planting bee friendly gardens. We hope the booklet will not only be fun but also inspire a fascination in food, farming and the countryside.” Schools have downloaded the Passport throughout the summer and those that completed all tasks received a certificate and rosette!



Farmer Time Farmer Time continues to inspire, engage, and educate young people about the journey of their food from farm to fork using the power of digital communication. Since Farmer Time began

53,596 learning hours

in 2016, we have connected 742 different teachers (or over 22,696 children) with farmers, creating a platform for pupils to gain a real time, year-round understanding of farming and the food supply chain, all from a secure video call within the classroom.

“I was completely blown away by the cards the class made and sent to me, I have never known that feeling of worth from farming before.” Stuart Rogers, Farmer Time farmer

22,696 children

1o 00%

f farmer teachers s & have enjoyed th experien e ce

%s 10te0 acher You can find out more about the impact of Farmer Time here.

of nd recomme e Farmer Tim

We are very grateful to our patrons who provide valuable long-term support: Dyson Farming Corteva Hutchinson’s Sainsbury’s Yara Thanks also to generous funding from: NFU Mutual Charitable Trust, the Garfield Weston Foundation, The David Family Foundation, alongside many other 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.

Help us achieve our ambition: Now could not be a more critical time to engage and educate young people, our future generation, with farming, food production and the natural environment.

How to get involved: There are many 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 Skype or FaceTime call between the farmer 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 hundreds of likeminded 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 Plus: CEVAS Plus 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 & safety practice to ensure you are compliant with the Industry Code of Practice and share best practice and new resources with other farm educators.

6. Learn from your peers: Join other Farmer Members to share best practice and learn from your peers, get to know the LEAF Education team and stay up to date with new developments at our regular Member Networking Days.

FarmingAndCountrysideEducation @leaf_education

www.leaf.eco/education 024 7641 3911 education@leaf.eco

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