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Case study: Edwalton School Farm, Nottingham.


FCFCG member Edwalton is the only primary school in England with a working farm and a three-acre wood attached to the school grounds.

The results of the school's all-round environmental effort are tangible. In 2006 Edwalton achieved Green Flag status for Eco-Schools and recently came second in a national environmental award organised by Blue Peter and the BBC.

An Ofsted report for 2007 described the school as "making a magnificent contribution to the environment".

Head teacher Brian Owens strongly believes in the benefits of the rich environment they have created: "The school has a long and proud tradition of environmental awareness and the children reflect these values in their caring attitudes towards nature, animals and others," he says.

Utilising these facilities is a key element in creating a school with a holistic approach to helping children become happy, successful and well-adjusted.

"All our eco-activities, including the farm, our gardens and the woods, have a significant impact on improved pupil participation, ownership, leadership, achievement and self-esteem throughout the whole school. This impact encompasses not just the children, but staff, parents and the local community as well."

The farm started in the early 1970s with a collection of rabbits and hens. Later, the school acquired an adjacent 12-acre field and put two ponies out to graze. The farm grew when Jacob sheep and Alpine goats were added.

Brian arrived in 1995 and felt strongly that part of his role was to build on the work of his predecessors. A key part of the strategy was to widen the ownership of the farm in order to involve not just staff and pupils, but parents, governors and the local community.

As a result stronger links were forged with local conservation groups like Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust and national organisations such as FCFCG.

An Animal Club was also formed and has proved a big hit. Each week up to 50 children and 14 adults get involved, donning coats and wellies before heading off to clean out cages and pens, top up food and provide fresh water. This continues through the holidays and weekends, including Christmas Day.

Children also engage in horticultural activities such as planting spring and summer bulbs, decorating tubs and tending garden plots for their classes. Three beehives provide honey for the school kitchen and local community.

The school also acts as a trustee for the wood and projects have included fence painting, construction of outdoor classrooms, making bird boxes, plus a variety of environmental work linked to the curriculum. Recently a pond dipping platform was built.
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Publication:Green Places
Geographic Code:4EUUE
Date:Mar 1, 2009
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