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Countryside Week - Farming schools

Education and agriculture coming together supporting our irresistible curriculum through real-life learning and working in partnership with our community.

A week dedicated to learning about the beautiful and productive land that surrounds our school, we will be hearing from experts, interactively exploring different areas of the countryside and asking lots and lots of our own questions.


Our week has started with an exciting photo challenge!

Thirty Three photographs have been placed around the school site, the challenge is to guess what they are!  All answer sheets to be in by the end of the day, as the photographs all lead to things we will be discovering and learning about throughout the week.


The winners will be announced in sharing assembly on Friday.


Here's a little taster...What do you think they are?





What do you think it is?

Badger and Fox class visited the farm to find out all about the different types of machinery used on a farm.


Whilst hearing all about the work and function of a seed drill, a plough, a telehandler and combine harvester the children asked some amazing questions to further their understanding and make links to their current knowledge and experiences.


Here is just a few of the brilliant questions:


* How do the seeds get from the tank into the field?

* If the drill is attached to the tractor, does the drill have an engine? If not, how does it run?

* How much does the combine harvester weigh?


As well as finding out about the machines mentioned, the children were able to see a tractor undergo a health check using a dynomemeter. This fascinating machines tells us how well the tractor is and how well it is able to perform under pressure, such a driving up a hill.  The computer generated reading gives an insight into the health of a tractor.


There was heaps of Maths in action as children worked out weights, distances and power measurements from horse power to RPM.



Badger and Fox class learn all about farm machinery

Hedgehog and Mole Class have been discovering all about how vegetables are grown, what they need to grow, how they are harvested and of course taste testing some too!


Tom Abrey from Abrey Farms shared with the children a huge variety of vegetables which they grow, along with some that they do not grow.  The children then followed the journey of a carrot from seed to supermarket packet, considering all the things that it needs along the way!


Water was a huge factor in what the carrots needed as they are made of 92-95% water, with this the children were able to explore an irrigater up close and find out how they work.  The mystery of the yellow circle shapes in fields has been solved.


Of course, after hearing all about how to grow carrots, a trip to a carrot field to see this in action was needed. After the carrot conga down a carrot row it was time to each pull our own...on a count of three - PULL!!  Some of the carrots were wobbly, some had 2 or 3 bits poking out like little legs.  Mole Class discovered what causes these things to happen (stones in the soil and bugs nibbling a hole and the carrot growing a new part) and loved comparing their carrot to their friends.


Here is Mole Class immersed in finding out where their food comes from and being super strog carrot pullers!  (Hedgehog Pics coming very very soon!)




Mole Class discovering Superveggies!!

Squirrel and Otter Class find out all about the tracking work carried out by our neighbours at RAF Honington 


The children and adults were fascinated to hear of the tracking work that RAF Honington carry out on the land around our school.

The RAF Airman and women undertake a three week tracking training programme to ensure that they stay a step ahead of their enemy whilst in areas of conflict, our Year 5 and 6 children were lucky enough to experience a taste of the tracking training.  Children discovered how to locate footprints, how to tell the direction the enemy is walking in (even if they are walking backwards to try and trick you!), how to tell if the enemy are walking or running and even what to do when the footprints run out!

By having the opportunity to hear from experts and carry out their own tracking exercise, the children had a myriad of questions!  Here are a few examples:

* Can you tell how big a person is from their footprint? (Not from their foot print but if they knelt down the print from knee to foot is a quarter of the size of the person).

* Can you tell what gun is hotting at you by the sound?

* Which country has the best trackers?

* What do you do if you get to a Y junction and the footprints go both ways?

* How long can you track for whilst carrying your maximum burden weight?

The questions led into the RAF Airmen showing us their very heavy equpiment, ration packs, bullet proof vests and even basic toileting equipment!


We had no idea of the work that takes place right on our doorstep! With the sandy Breckland Soil being the perfect training ground for tracking in sandy countries!





Squirrel and Otter Class discovering the fascinating tracking work of RAF Honington

Badger and Year 2 Moles have a buzzing time learning about Bees!!


Wow!! The children were just mesmerised when learning all about the intriguing world of bees!


Lee, a local beekeeper explained all about how bees live, collect pollen and produce honey.


Did you know?


* All bees are born the same but it is what they are fed that determines if they become a queen bee.

* Bees have a life span of just 6 weeks.

* A group bees together is called a colony.

* Male bees are called drones and female bees are called workers.


But the BEST bit by far was tasting the honey, straight form the honeycomb!!!




A bee - autiful time discovering all about bees!

A tree-mendous time discovering more about different species of trees


Badger and Year Two Moles couldn't leaf countryside week without experiencing the different types of trees that grow in tour local environment.


A mini multi variety woodland was created, and the children were challenged to identify as many different species as they could!  Badger Class really showed the knowledge they had gained through their forest schools sessions.


Did you know...


The sycamore leaf is like the palm of a hand with 5 sections, just like our fingers!


Through asking questions we found out that you cannot tell a tree by its sap and not all barks are the same.


How many species do you think you would be able to identify?





Tree-mendous learning about different tree species

Oh Deer!! Yet another fascinating session for Badger and Year Two Moles!


Chris Rogers helped us to understand more about the deers that live in the countryside around us and how these are carefully looked after and managed.


We couldn't believe that deers shed their antlers each year and that they grow back even bigger! 


Did you know....


* The Red Deer is the UKs largest land mammal

* Muntjac deer are not native to England, the Victorians brought them over!

* Now that wolves have died out the deer have no natural predators!

* Deer can be spotted at night using thermal imaging lenses



Deer-ey me these antlers are heavy!

Just WOW!!

Otter and Squrriel Class try their hand at the olympic sport of rifle shooting.


After months of planning and risk assessment and approval from county, I am so delighted that Year 5 and 6 children had the opportunity to experience air rifle shooting.


Simon and Louise from BASC (British Association of Shooting and Conservation) were amazing in helping our dreams come true and providing us with not only the chance to try a new sport but also find out more about protecting crops and the anatomy of a pigeon.


With a competition in the morning for Year 6 and a competition in the afternoon for Year 5, Harvey and Aimee were the proud winners of a BASC Teddy Bear!


The level of concentration, skill and determination shown by all children was simply astounding! Demonstrating responsibility, courage and trust - 3 of the Christian values we have focused on this year, showing that true learning happens just on the edge of our comfort zones!

(Vygotsky's Zone of Proximal Development most certainly in action today!)


And my goodness what amazing shots we have in our school!  Especially the girls who barely missed a target!


A huge huge thank you to BASC, childhood memories definitely created!


Young pheasants going cheep!


We are all very familiar with the pheasants on the roadside and risking life as they run and fly in front of our cars.  Otter and Squirrel class were lucky enough to spend time with Lee, Euston Estate Gamekeeper to find out where pheasants (and other game birds) come from, how they are cared for and how we can protect the woodlands they live in.


Just hearing about an incubator that holds 20,000 eggs was mindblowing - imagining the noise of 20,000 pheasant or partridge chicks!!


Lee showed us the equipment he used, and explained how young partridge chicks are cared for, them much to everyone's surprise he opened up a little shed which was full of partridge chicks.


Children's face lit up as they held chicks and Lee explained about their care, including the 'bit' on their beak which stops them pecking their own and other feathers out.  


Thank you Lee, I think you have certainly inspired the next generation of gamekeepers!





Most certainly game for asking lots of questions!

Different ways to control vermin certainly 'traps' the children's curiosity


We just take for granted spending our days at school in a pest free environment, with no rats running around or mole hills spoiling our football pitch and making sports difficult and dangerous.  But how come?  What happens to control the pests that would love to inhabit our school?


Pest Control expert Alan spent his time telling us about the different types of pests that he controls to make sure our environments are safe and as disease free as possible!


Understanding  the lifestyle and preferences of moles and rats is a crucial part of Alan's job and helps him to be as successful as possible.  We were fascinated to discover how mole tunnels work and how deep they like to be underground, and how much they love eating worms!  We found out how and why molehills are made too!


Most of all the children loved seeing Alan set different types of traps and set them off - with a stick!





Otter and Squirrel class intrigued by pest control

Whole School Finale of Countryside Week!


Our amazing week came to a fantastic end with a whole school day at Euston Park, where our focus was learning all about livestock.


No ordinary school drop off, children were dropped at Euston Park and had to find their class bale ready for registration.


This was followed by our usual Friday sharing assembly, only this time we were outside in the beautiful sunshine! Each class shared with parents and one another some of their learning from the week.


Then the winners of our photograph challenge from the beginning of the week were announced!

Most of the items photographed had become apparent during the week with children (and staff) noticing them throughout the different activities they took part in! 


The photographs on our website are an early onion shoot and the very start of a potato forming!


Here is a few photographs from our assembly.

Our very unique sharing assembly

Our day started with a whole school sheep dog display, which captivated our audience from ages 4 - 64!  We found out all about the commands used for sheep dogs and what happens when they are out of ear shot of their owner, and the saw the whistle in action as the sheep went further away!  

Sheep dog demonstration!

Straight after the sheep dog demonstration it was off to the different livestock stations.


Up close with a Red Poll cow and calf


We were enthralled to find out more about the Red Poll cattle that we often see in the field on the road near the estate office.  Andrew Blenkiron, Estate Director and Charlie Askew from Easton & Otley College told us all about calving, nutrition, cow passports and the life cycles of cows.


We found out about milk producing cows and meat producing cows.  Each class asked some amazing questions including:

* Do cows have a photograph in their passport? - No - just numbers!

* How many burgers can one cow make? - 1,500!!

* How many calves can they have?

* Why do cows have to die to make meat?


Andrew and Charlie answered all our questions and posed lots of questions back to the children to ensure the children's thoughts were answered and they fully understood.



We conducted a poll - the children loved it!!

Next a quick trot-ter off to learn out about Pigs!


Chris Fogden, a pigman kindly took time to tell us all about pigs, including their diet, habits(!), distinctive characteristics, preferences and general behaviour!


We were all surprised at just how clever these animals are!  As well as hearing that if their tail is curly then they are happy.


We know understand more about where our food comes from, especially our bacon and sausages.


One of the questions Chris was asked was:

* What inspired you to be a pigman?  Chris explained his journey from being a student to a pigman along with the highs and some lows of the job!


An oink and a squeal of excitement at the pigs!

Things begin to go a little bit woolly!


Next stop Dennis showed us how to shear a sheep!!  The sheep seemed to really like it and we are sure that they felt better after being sheared on such a hot day!


After the sheep were sheared we could feel their backs and how waxy they felt.  Dennis explained that sheep's wool has lanolin in to keep them waterproof and stop their fleeces becoming waterlogged, which would really weigh them down.


By far our most fascinating fact discovering that sheep do not have top teeth (well just two) bu they have a full bottom set, and that you can tell how old a sheep is by how many teeth they have!


All of the grown ups were surprised by how little money there is in sheep fleeces, with each fleece being worth about £2 to the farmer!





It's okay they are not sheepish being sheared with an audience!

The shepherd serves up a tasty treat!


Chris Reeks, shepherd and owner of Le Hogue's farm shop, completed the livestock cycle for us by explaining how animals are used to provide food for people to eat.  Chris explained the different types of meat and which animal they come from.


Children were keen to share their experiences of some their favourite dinners, containing these meats! Chris was amazing at answering the children's questions about his shepherd work, the work of his sheep dog and the life cycle of different animals.


By far the most popular part was having the chance to try Chris' beef., lamb, pork and pheasant - cooked by our school cook Julie, straight from the BBQ!


The children were all really brave to try something new and the majority of the children loved it and came back for more!  The pheasant was exceptionally popular with children likening it it chicken.  


Many of the children have asked their parent's if they can go to La Hogue's restaurant after sampling Chris' tasty meats! 




Pleased to meet you, meat to please you!

A wonderful end to the most amazing week