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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



Latest from blog

24 May 2022

    Bluebells at Rushall Farm I first met...


March 2020

March 2020

13 Mar 2020




Yesterday I was driving through East Ilsey when there was a wave and a shout from a much loved and familiar friend.  Iain Jermey was having a day off from fencing, and clearing up after pruning some apple trees.  Helping him was Kyle Wray, completely fixed on the job in hand. He helps Iain on a Monday as work experience from Castle Special School and is totally reliable, always cheerful and a hard worker. Iain came to us from Little Heath School over 25 years ago.  He had given up on school and GCSEs but loved farming.  He worked full time at Rushall Farm for a number of years, was quick to learn new skills and always smiled, always joked even when he’d crashed his newly acquired restored mini or when nursing a crushed toe and waiting for treatment in the old Newbury Hospital.  He now runs a very successful fencing business specialising in the high end market for horses, is married with two children.

Every week 20 students from Brookfields and Castle Special Schools come to Rushall Farm on a Tuesday.  It is the highlight of their week, and Steve encourages them to work on a long list of jobs they can do around the lambing shed; cleaning out pens, bedding and watering the ewes, putting silage out, feeding the pigs and sweeping and tidying up. After a morning when more is done than you would expect, they all gather together in Oaklands for lunch, sometimes supplemented with pancakes, a barbecue or even a full Christmas dinner.  Children from Brookfields have been coming here since we started schools work. And for those who are into CBeebies,  Justin Fletcher, Mr Tumble, came and recorded an episode of Something Special with two pupils from the school, Donna Randall and starring Josephine our retired Waitrose Colombian Black tail chicken.

Something else very special is happening on the last Tuesday of term.  Another pupil, Mathew, will officially open Oaklands in memory of Stuart Featherstone a former pupil who died in a tragic accident on the Bath Road in 2018 aged 46. He worked at Tescos in Newbury and was well liked, loved and known by many people.  It was the way Stuart had succeeded in life which inspired the idea to develop the old charcoal site into a place where children can be helped and be encouraged as they find their place in their world of today. So after the opening we will really celebrate and thank you to those who contributed financially to the building work and to Alan Robertson the builder!

John Bishop