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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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September 2020

September 2020

15 Sep 2020

When I finished working at Rushall Farm as manager for Willi...



 

June 2020

June 2020

10 Jun 2020

 

 

We have, in defiance of all that has been going on, kept a sign on Back Lane saying ‘Rushall Farm School Visits’.  Now it is true that “hope deferred makes the heart sick. Proverbs 13.12”.  We now realise that the prospect of any visits before next spring is unlikely, and even then we are not sure what shape education in the countryside here will look like.  Meanwhile we have had one regular visitor.  A young boy with autism has sought refuge here with his father, who is an electrician.  He wouldn’t get out of the car to begin with but gradually he has gained confidence to go to the pond and see countless uncaught, fat tadpoles, walk the gravelly track and allow the sun, the sky, trees, bird song and green space to give him the confidence to give a tiny wave or smile.

The same was not the case for two young badger cubs I saw the other evening. The security of the crop of red clover by their sett had been removed for silage. They had obviously been at odds with their mother and were busy foraging some distance from home before dark. These bumbling little fellows looked as though they had been in lockdown with their massive great shock of badger hair and such clear markings. They more or less ignored my excitement (and that of my dog), enjoyed the photo opportunity and then wandered off.

Over the last 18 months we have been developing a Life Skills Course for children in the 10 to 12 age group. We are calling it ‘Growing for Good’ and it is aimed at those who for some reason are not coping well in the classroom.  They come here in groups of ten, one day a week for 10 weeks and we work within that group and the school to address their individual needs. Our staff love this opportunity to get to know the children really well. And the results are good, from the girl who hadn’t spoken in school for two years and started speaking, to the incredibly anxious child who joined the school drama group and started boxing and writing plays. Of course, there was one whose renewed self-confidence had made her even more difficult in class! Some lives we know will have been changed by being here and for others, well, they will at least have received a little encouragement on the way. We do hope that there will be opportunities to start this work again.

John Bishop