Top marks for school trip scheme

School children on a farm visit
School children on a farm visit

FARMS across the area are being encouraged to help youngsters learn about life on the farm.

A new series of grants are being made available to help provide the facilities needed so farms can host educational school visits.

They are being offered through the Higher Level Stewardships scheme (HLS) to improve visitor access to farms such as classrooms, washroom facilities and access furniture such as kissing gates.

Successful applicants will also be eligible for an annual base payment and revenue payments for up to 25 educational visits per year.

There are currently over 60 farmers in Yorkshire supplementing their income by offering educational visits

Ian Fugler, Natural England’s Director of Land Management said: “Opening the farm up to groups as an educational resource is a great opportunity for children to experience life on a farm, learn about wildlife, where their food comes from and how the land is managed.

“These visits can make a real difference, especially for children from urban areas who would not otherwise have the chance to visit the countryside or see how a working farm operates – this funding will enable more to follow in their footsteps.”

Figures from the Countryside Alliance show that 97% of teachers believe it’s important for pupils to learn about the countryside in the National Curriculum and 98% believe the countryside could play a greater role in cross–curricular learning.

However, less than half of all children aged between five and 16 went on a school trip to the countryside in 2008.

Farmers in HLS who can demonstrate the potential for their farms to host high quality educational visits for school children or care farming clients should contact their local Natural England Land Management Adviser by 30 June to apply for the funding.