Many of the students at Churchward School access the Uplands Enterprise Trust (UET) Farm provision which is based in Leigh, a few miles outside of Swindon. South Leigh Farm has a great and growing family of animals from chickens, bantams, ducks and a goose to rabbits and a pony, as well as farm dogs who ensure that everyone gets a friendly welcome. Extensive and developing learning facilities include an indoor classroom, kitchen, woodwork workshop, polytunnel, gardening plots and pond/forest schools area.
It is fully accessible to students with a wide variety of needs and we work closely with staff, both at the farm, and in school, to plan our farm curriculum offer, as well as bespoke provision to meet students’ individual needs.
The outcomes for students at the farm may relate to:
- Achieving Unit Award Scheme accreditation e.g. students are currently working towards a Level 1 Introduction to Animal Care, covering topics such as: animal welfare and legislation, husbandry and animal health and ethics.
- Horticulture knowledge and skills, e.g. seasonal produce, organic methods, planning and cultivating their own plot, polytunnel beds and equipment and cooking with fresh home-grown produce.
- Woodwork skills and understanding i.e. developing their carpentry skills using reclaimed timber and producing products such as bird tables, planters, trays, tables, boxes, shelves or planning, as well as making their own products.
- Students’ individual targets e.g. EHCP outcomes, Thrive targets or their work experience targets.
- Our Integration Curriculum, including personal projects.
For those attending for subject specific learning, a ‘menu’ - please follow the link for the current Term 4 Options Menu of farm-based activities are offered each term for students to choose from. Accessing South Leigh Farm offers our young people the opportunity to engage and interact with livestock and learn life skills in health and safety,
It offers our young people the chance to enjoy the great outdoors, engage and interact with livestock and learn life skills in environmental care, health and safety, life processes, woodwork and horticulture, whilst taking part in practical and hands-on experiences which support their independence and social, communication and interaction skills, as well as sensory needs and development.
Staff supporting the students receive the scheme of work each term related to the area of learning the student chooses to pursue and they record evidence against the relevant framework on Evidence for Learning, our multi-modal cloud-based assessment system. This may be:
- Animal Care (linked to the objectives of the Unit Award Scheme they are studying).
- Woodwork skills (linked to the skills development framework and working to improve their fluency and independence of skills).
- Horticulture knowledge and skills (linked to season specific learning outcomes for that term).
- Students’ individual EHCP outcomes, Thrive or work experience targets.
- Integration Curriculum outcomes.
This evidence documents students’ progress, supports the achievement of Unit Award Scheme accreditation and can be shared with students’ families to celebrate their progress and achievements, as well as support discussion and communication at home related to this.
The UET Farm provision benefits the learners in a variety of ways depending on the needs of the individuals through:
- Developing their knowledge and skills in the above areas leading to opportunities to gain meaningful accreditations and tangible outcomes from their work through the products and produce they make.
- Developing their independence skills and sense of responsibility to animals and the environment, as well as developing their work-related learning skills at Key Stage 3 and through their experiences at the farm and through formal work experience opportunities in Key Stages 4 and 5.
- Feeling a sense of pride through nurturing produce from farm to fork.
- Enhancing learning outside of the classroom environment, creating a diverse learning experience.
- Freedom to enjoy a sense of space in a safe and secure environment.