Five or six years ago, we met a year 10 student who had just moved into Carlisle and his new school were concerned that school may be an uphill battle for him.
Knowing Susan, and knowing the work of the farm, the school arranged for that student to attend the farm for one day a week instead of being in school. That one day a week proved enough of an outlet for him to continue in school and to pass his GCSEs.
Since then, we have continually offered places for students for whom school is a challenge. We now do this formally one or two days every week during term time.
Our key staff include Susan, the farmer and a former nurse, Ruth, the education officer and qualified teacher and Martin, the farm manager. All are DBS checked.
Over the years we have developed our experience of working with people of all ages, including secondary school age students, from a range of backgrounds.
Our Alternative Provision work focuses on getting the students farming: moving, feeding and checking stock, knowledge of animal care including mucking out pens, fencing and land management and whatever jobs need doing around the farm. We take the opportunity to use and apply reading and writing skills and problem solving where we can and in conjunction with schools.
We have also worked directly with families where students no longer attend school.
By arrangement, we work with school-aged individuals on a case by case basis for one or two days per week.
There is a maximum ratio of 1 adult to 4 students so groups are always small; often we also have another member of staff to work on specific tasks or projects.
We recognise that this project sometimes works with students who are outside mainstream school and have specific needs. We are sensitive to those needs and are able to understand and work with and around them, whilst at the same time building students' knowledge and resilience.
This work will not suit everyone but it can be a genuinely useful way of engaging with young people, particularly where other avenues have failed.
For more details about what we do, including availability and cost, contact Susan Aglionby by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 01228 549628 or on 01228 548336.
145 Houghton Road
Cumbria. CA3 0LD