There is a growing need to engage young people throughout England
with rural issues and the natural environment, Rural Affairs
Minister Jim Knight said on a visit to Lancashire.
Mr Knight visited Myerscough College in Preston, where he formally
opened a new Schools and Countryside Interpretation Centre and
talked to staff and schoolchildren who have been working in the
centre and enjoying its resources.
Mr Knight said: "As the gulf between England's rural and
urban communities increasingly widens, it is more important than
ever that we find new ways of engaging young people with their
"Projects like the Schools and Countryside Interpretation
Centre will enable teachers to see farming and the countryside
not just as areas of study in their own right, but as the basis
for activities right across the curriculum.
"This is vital if we are to preserve our valued rural heritage
- and ensure that the countryside remains a viable place to live
and work in the future."
Myerscough college is widely recognised as a centre of excellence
for rural studies. The new centre is a unique resource which
will act as a gateway for pupils and teachers alike to the facilities
and knowledge held at the college, whether they are working towards
a specific qualification or using its facilities to engage with
science-based aspects of the National Curriculum.
The centre supports the Government's Rural Manifesto, which
contains a clear commitment to reconnecting school children with
farming, the countryside and wildlife.
"As rural land use changes, we recognise the need for the
countryside to be perceived not just as the place where our food
comes from - but as a place for leisure and recreation, which
supports biodiversity and enhances our quality of life," he
To help achieve this, Defra and its agencies have been working
with Farming and Countryside Education (FACE), a public-private
sector partnership which provides practical learning resources
to schools and colleagues across the UK, works with farmers to
enable practical visits to the countryside and commissions research.
FACE has been assisting Defra in the delivery of key policy areas,
ranging from Climate Change to Biodiversity and Sustainable Rural
Myerscough College also works in close partnership with FACE.
Katy Roberts, the College's Schools Development Manager works
for FACE as a Regional Education Coordinator. Katy is also the
Food and Countryside Educational Initiative Officer for the North
West, helping schools and colleges across the region to integrate
countryside and farming topics into the National Curriculum.
Invests Over £100 Million to Preserve and Support Our Rural
Rural Funding To Become More Flexible, Says Minister
Helps Northumberland Farmer Plant Seed For New "Green" Business