Several 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 two days every week during term time.
Over the years we have developed our reputation for working with people of all ages, including secondary school age students, from a range of backgrounds.
We also work directly with families where students no longer attend school.
Our Alternative Provision is led by Sue Lister, a qualified Geography teacher with an Honours degree in Environmental Management. Sue has many years experience managing, supporting and working with children and young people who need a different approach to support their progression.
Sue is supported by Martin Ellmore, the Farm Manager.
All our staff are DBS checked.
Sue and the team plan their provision around the farming calendar and have created a range of activities to get students engaged with farming, nature and the outdoors.
Whether it's moving, feeding, checking stock, or getting stuck in with fencing and land management tasks, every day is different and there is never a dull moment on the farm!
We also take the opportunity to use and apply reading, writing and maths skills and problem solving where it fits in naturally with the tasks at hand.
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 students who are outside mainstream school have specific needs and we are sensitive to those needs. We are able to understand and work with and around them, whilst at the same time building students' knowledge, confidence and resilience.
We offer an individualised learning experience, working on qualification and non-qualification knowledge and skill development as required.
Our work may not suit everyone but it can be a genuinely useful way of engaging with young people, particularly where other avenues have failed.
At Susan's Farm we have a shared set of expectations that focus on the 4 R's: Click here to find out what these are.
We also manage the behaviour of those who work with us in a positive and supportive manner as explained in our Behaviour and Relationship Policy below.
For more information see our brochure here.
We keep everyone busy all year, getting involved with essential farm tasks, caring for animals and improving the farm environment for the benefit of everyone. Whether you've got experience with farming or not, if you have the right attitude you can enjoy your day and learn new skills.
We have mapped all our annual farming tasks to the skills you'll develop throughout the year- click here to find out more.
As they say...the more you put in, the more you get out.
Susan's Farm is a registered ASDAN Centre and offers a range of achievable project-based qualifications to boost confidence, knowledge and skill development.
Susan's Farm CIO
145 Houghton Road
Cumbria. CA3 0LD
We are a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) registered with the Charity Commission in England and Wales No 1183223