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"We all learnt a great deal about Farming - it helped the children to understand the idea of Farming more. A real hands on experience!"

By Reading School Year 4 teacher



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24 May 2022

    Bluebells at Rushall Farm I first met...


June 2019

June 2019

4 Jul 2019

At Rushall Manor work on Oaklands Yard is progressing rapidly, with July as the likely completion date. The building was planned to meet the needs of young people coming from two local special schools. We had found that the facilities at Rushall Manor have been restricting the benefit of their time here. Oaklands offers the opportunity to provide their special place which is accessible for all in a secure space where we will have the opportunity to develop current activities and new ones including raised vegetable beds, beehives, woodland products and a greenhouse. We also see it as a place where children who are not thriving in the classroom can have their needs addressed.

We now see more clearly how this building can project the vital work of the Trust forward over the next 11 years. Last autumn we did a pilot project with Englefield Primary School.  The school is committed to giving each individual the learning experience they need to make good progress and prepare them for the next stage of their education.  For this reason, a group of year 5/6 was chosen to spend six afternoons at Rushall Farm, developing their teamwork, leadership skills and self-confidence. They made dens, built fires which they used to cook burgers, did some orienteering, carried out a river study and other adventurous activities.  Everyone participated fully and said it was a fantastic experience, but also staff saw significant long-term improvement back in school.

Last term a similar project was carried out with Theale Primary School and we have just started working with Prospect School.  10 pupils from year 7 are coming out weekly for a full day for the term and another group will replace them in the autumn.  Each pupil’s progress is monitored over the weeks they are with us.  I am sure that Intervention at this early stage with children who are not engaging well with school, using the expertise and resources of the Trust, is work we are clearly able to do. After 3 sessions one girl who had not spoken in school for 2 years started to speak, and another with extreme problems with anxiety interviewed Farmer Steve and the report was sent out in the regular school newsletter. We know that children coming to Rushall Farm are disarmed the moment they step off the coach, but recent work is proving that change can really happen, and we must pray that it is lasting!

John Bishop