School goes back to area's farming roots

June 28 2021

Children at work on the Blackhorse Primary School farm

Children at work on the Blackhorse Primary School farm

CHILDREN at Blackhorse Primary School have been learning how to grow their own food after the school opened its very own farm.
The project has echoes of the area's history as a working farm in the years before the school and nearby homes were built.
A dedicated horticulture teacher, Simon Evans, is helping pupils learn how to sow and tend to their crops both on the farm and in the newly-created allotment beds, which each class has been allocated across the school site.
Head teacher Simon Botten said: "Whilst we’d always planned to develop the children’s understanding of horticulture, health and nutrition this year, we decided to use the theme of ‘Blackhorse Farm’ as a whole-school focus for all of our science work in Term 5, as a way to help the children reconnect with their school community after such a disruptive year."
Mr Botten said the children had enthusiastically thrown themselves into the ‘good life’, planning science experiments around growing vegetables and creating detailed Victorian botanical drawings.
They are learning about how the food they harvest can be used to create healthy meals and how to help the environment by eating locally-produced seasonal food, reducing ‘food miles’ created by importing produce.
The school kitchen is planning meals which incorporate the produce grown by the children.
Deputy head teacher Neil Fry said: "The farm allows us to teach science, history, geography, and a whole host of other subjects, practically and holistically, and it is amazing how much the children know and can do as a result.
"Stop any Blackhorse child and they will tell you exactly how to grow food and how to create healthy meals."
Mr Botten said the school had seen benefits to children’s mental health and well-being as a result of the farm project.
He said: "Many of the crops which were planted in the depths of the pandemic winter, by the children of essential workers, are now bearing fruit, and the children have really connected with the idea of re-growth and re-birth after what has been, for all of us, a difficult winter.
"Some of the children who have been badly affected by the pandemic, or who struggled to return to school, have found watering the crops each morning hugely therapeutic, allowing them to successfully re-engage with school life."