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Farmers Go Back to School
2011-02-01

LandSkills North East has announced it will support North East farmers with £4800 funding to do their Access to Farms Qualification. Part of the Countryside Educational Visits Accreditation Scheme, this is a specialist training course for all farmers and their staff who work with schools and host farm visits.

The training shows farmers the issues they need to take into account when planning visits, how ‘Food, Farming and the Countryside’ is featured in the National Curriculum and how to prepare presentations and talk to pupils and teachers. The aim is that farmers are not only prepared in terms of risk management and health and safety but that they also provide the type of visit that schools need to support their classroom studies.

The training, with financial support from the Rural Development Programme for England’s (RDPE) funded LandSkills North East project, which is managed by Lantra on behalf of One North East, will be delivered by Access To Farms. The course organiser Ian Egginton-Metters says, “To date we have trained over 1300 farmers and their staff. As a consequence of attending the course, they have benefited from increased knowledge and are confidently able to deal with these sorts of visits. With the help of LandSkills North East, we are looking forward to being able to train more people across the North East in these skills.”

Children’s Countryside Day

Children’s Countryside Day
One organisation who has already benefited from the course is the Glendale Agricultural Society which organises the annual Children’s Countryside Day, the largest educational event of its kind in the North East. Project Manager Sarah Nelson explains why this course is so highly acclaimed: “Our entire Children’s Day Committee have attended. It adds credibility as to how you look at education on the farm from both the farmers’ point of view and that of the teachers. An added bonus is that is not only highlights what the teachers want pupils to learn but also the issues that farmers would like to highlight to these groups. The course covers many legislative issues and therefore has ensured that we are all fully prepared to work with a large number of schools and children.”

The two day training course is part one of the accreditation scheme and leads to an Open College Network (OCN) award, worth nine credits for the individual. The second part – if appropriate - is an accreditation for the farm itself. This involves a straightforward assessment by independent body, CMS UK with potential follow up inspections. This gives the farm the CEVAS accreditation and a Learning Outside the Classroom Council certification and plaque.

Adrian Sherwood, RDPE Manager at One North East, said: “I ask those farmers who deal directly with the public to consider attending this training, which can help secure successful farm diversification and essentially create a more sustainable business, bringing rewards for the North East’s rural economy.”

Details of courses are available at www.face-online.org.uk/cevas or direct from iianem@blueyonder.co.uk (01373 302204).

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