We’re going to share some previous magazine content during this time - first up, we hear from CEO of The Country Trust, Jill Attenborough about how the charity can help schools.

Pear picking

The trust can help many Primary schools in deprived areas.

Jill Attenborough

Jill Attenborough.

At The Country Trust we have 40 years’ experience of helping Primary schools in deprived areas, schools providing for children with SEND, and groups supporting vulnerable families to access the wonders of food, farming and the countryside, at low or no cost.

At the heart of everything we do are the transformative and free of charge Farm Discovery day visits to real working farms. Our Countryside Discovery residentials immerse children in the countryside for up to five days and our Food Discovery programmes teach children to grow, cook and explore all aspects of food across a school year. All of our programmes bring rich experiences, vital for building language, literacy, self-confidence and self-esteem.

We know that financial challenges are making it harder for some schools to provide the opportunity for children to gain breadth and richness from learning outside the classroom, and we also know that many families won’t have the resources to provide these opportunities at home. The lifelong impact of poverty of opportunity is such that Ofsted has included new requirements for schools in its inspection framework.

“Our Countryside Discovery residentials immerse children in the outdoors for up to five days.”

We can help children access high quality, experiential learning, helping schools to close the attainment gap for their Pupil Premium children and helping children to become more engaged with learning as result of interactive ‘real-world’ experiences. We can build teacher confidence to start to use the countryside as a resource to enhance their teaching - 99.3% of teachers said they were more confident after taking part in one of our programmes (the remaining 0.7% said they were already confident!)

Farms are an amazing window into everything from habitats and life cycles, to history and technology, as well as of course offering first-hand experience of where our food comes from. Our programmes build a rich bank of experiences which fuel imagination and vocabulary, enable children to talk and be listened to, be challenged and succeed, and increase their self-esteem and resilience. We are confident that children learn and grow with The Country Trust and can begin to make informed decisions, understanding that their actions matter to the world around them, particularly that the choices they make will influence the future of the food that we eat. They can also experience the fun and freedom of being a child playing outside, getting their hands dirty, running in open green space, hearing birdsong and the wind in the trees, being absorbed in a moment of wonder.