Students arrive on site at 9:00 for breakfast cooked around the fire and a soft start to the day. Some students have had a lengthy journey to school and require time to settle in to the school day.
Each student is greeted at the gate by a member of staff and welcomed to the farm. This allows parents to voice any concerns to staff easily and informally and keeps channels of communication open between home and school. A kind welcome each morning also reiterates the values of the farm and the nature of the community.
At 9:15 the formal school day begins with a class discussion about the day’s timetable and the allocation of the class jobs. Students and staff discuss any anxieties they may have about the day. There is a weather check and students are responsible for ensuring they have the correct equipment ready for being on the farm, including waterproofs etc. During this time reading interventions take place to support all students with their early reading journey.
At 9:45 students have a 45 minute session of English. This focuses on reading and writing, along with the necessary skills of phonics and SPAG. Students will feel confident accessing texts and develop a love of reading. English sessions are held out on the farm, writing observations on clipboards, reading to animals and taking inspiration from the environment.
Some lessons include reading a text around the fire before completing a longer writing task in a sheltered spot. All English lessons have some active time outdoors.
At 10:30 we break for a whole site coffee break including students and staff from the AP. Students make tea, hot chocolate and squash and serve the biscuits. During coffee break discussions cover the PSHE curriculum, including British Values and SMSC learning. The discussions are informal and allow students to ask questions and access the curriculum content at a level suitable for them.
At 11:00 students move on to a science or topic lesson. These sessions take place on the farm and focus on student interests and real world application of knowledge. We make adaptations to our schemes of work based on student interests, whilst maintaining a broad and balanced covering of topics. During these sessions students use technology, including cameras, tablets and laptops.
At 12:00 we have our daily PE session. Each day has a different focus including traditional PE skills, as well as map reading, walk and talk dog walk, working on the allotment, and outdoor adventurous activities for team building.
12:30 is lunchtime and once each week students cook for the site over the fire. All staff and students eat together at lunch time and there is an organised activity for students to take part in if they wish.
The afternoon begins with half an hour of maths at 1:00. These lessons include practical work on the farm, but follow a workbook scheme to reduce demands and ensure all students are being suitably challenged. With high staff ratios the class can complete their workbooks where they feel most comfortable though, even with the animals.
The final session of the day is farming from 1:30-2:30. These sessions focus on learning about the animals and the skills required to not only care for them but also make welfare decisions, implement biosecurity, maintain the site, sell farm produce and reinvest profits. The sessions are thematic and seasonal and allow the students to take ownership of the farm.
From 2:30 for the final half an hour students share a story, discuss their day, prepare for the next and help to tidy the site. Additional reading interventions also occur.
Home time is at 3:00, staff accompany students to the gate and are available for parents to talk to.