Mini-farms becoming increasingly common sight in Bolton's schools

The Bolton News: Lostock Primary School pupil Annabelle White with an egg laid by one of their chickens Buy this photo Lostock Primary School pupil Annabelle White with an egg laid by one of their chickens

THE countryside is rolling into Bolton’s schools.

School farms are fast becoming a popular addition in primary schools across Bolton, as chickens, sheep, goats and many other farmyard animals make their home in the grounds, much to the delight and excitement of pupils.

Lostock Primary is the latest school to develop a school farm in its grounds.

Already it is becoming a great learning resource for children, with staff and pupils hoping the local community will help to develop the farm.

Emma Booth, deputy head, said: “We took the eco-club to have a look at the animals at Eagley Infants School and they loved it.

“We started planning it last year, buying the chickens. None of this has come through school funding so we have had to raise the money ourselves.”

A local business donated a greenhouse, while caretaker Oliver Hodkinson built the farmyard.

Mrs Booth added: “We want to keep expanding the farm. We would like to have goats, ducks, a pond, sheep and donkey.

“We have had help, with Connaught Security putting the fencing up for free, which we are grateful for, and we would appeal to anyone who can help.”

The farm has much more than just the cute factor, with educational benefits ranging from giving the school a resource that fits every aspect of the curriculum — science to literacy and even enterprise.

It also helps children’s personal development, increasing their confidence and instilling a sense of responsibility and develop-ing life skills.

School farms have won the backing of The Prince of Wales, who last year said at the Oxford Farming Conference, said: “I have long held a particular admiration for the immense value of school farms.

“Apart from the importance of reconnecting young people with nature, the soil and where their food comes from, they can give to children of every ability an experience of growing and an understanding of farming.

"It will serve them throughout their lives, especially when they begin to make decisions as consumers.”

Mrs Booth added: “This farm is about helping our children learn. They still get excited when they find an egg and enjoy coming down here.

"It is another way to engage children and increase their confidence.”

There are plans to put a webcam in so pupils can use it for their learning as well as keeping an eye on it when they are at home.

Pupils say they will continue to visit the farm even when they leave.

Thomas Brown, aged 11, said: “It is really good having a farm here, seeing the animals and finding the eggs. It helps us develop a sense of responsibility because they do need looking after and, hopefully, we get goats.

“I will have left by then but I will probably come back to have a look.”

He added: “We have been selling eggs and plants to raise money for the farm.”

Annabelle White, aged five, added: “Having a farm is really fun and it is exciting looking for the eggs.”

Anyone who can help develop the farm should call Mrs Booth on 01204 333733 or email office@lostock.bolton.sch.uk

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