Open Farm Success

Tom’s Farm based at Nightingale Community Academy, threw open its gates for Open Farm Sunday and was pleased to welcome over 3000 guests during the day. The animals were a huge hit with the younger visitors, who enjoyed helping to wash the pigs and cuddling the rabbits.

Josh Farrell, Tom’s Farm Manager, said: “It was an absolutely perfect day to welcome visitors to see the incredible work that goes on here. Tom’s Farm is a field to fork experience for students, parents, staff and the wider community aimed at reconnecting people with farming and the origins of their food, as well as educating and providing a therapeutic resource for the students at the school.”

One of the highlights of the day was the sheep shearing demonstration by Tom Davis, the Farm Manager of Mudchute Farm who took the time to tell visitors about British wool and the work of the Rare Breeds Survival Trust.

Students from the academy and young volunteers of livestock gave a demonstration of handling the farm’s Oxford Sandy and Black Pigs in the show ring. The animals were judged by Peter and Patricia Colson on behalf of the Oxford Sandy and Black Pig Society and prizes awarded to the best Gilt (female pig, who has not had piglets), Boar (male pig) and the overall Best of Breed. They said, “The pigs were of a very high standard and the pupils did a terrific job showing them. The animals, staff and pupils were an absolute credit to the school and Tom’s Farm.”

Visitors were also able to sample produce from the farm, have a go at making a bird box and take home a bouquet of beautiful fresh flowers from Winch and Willow flowers in return for a donation to the farm. There was a bouncy castle and access to the school’s play apparatus for the younger visitors.

The event raised £10,000 which will go towards the running of the farm. Tom’s Farm is funded by the Tom AP Rhys Pryce Memorial Trust as a therapeutic resource to provide our students with opportunities to learn about empathy while caring for animals.

LEAF Open Farm Sunday is a nationwide event whereby farms all over the country invite the general public to discover the fabulous work farmers do and gain an insight into farming.

The principal and leadership team, well supported by the Orchard Hill College and Academy Trust, have provided strong leadership, which has had a positive impact on the school’s effectiveness. As a result, there have been improvements in all areas, most noticeably in pupils’ behaviour and attitudes, the curriculum and in the wider opportunities for pupils.

Ofsted, February 2019

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