our Alternative provision

getting started

Several years ago, we met a year 10 student who had just moved into Carlisle and his new school were concerned that school might 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. We also offer afternoon sessions for groups of students at risk of disengagement. These sessions are booked by schools in 6 week blocks.


We have an excellent reputation locally for the quality of our provision, and in 2023 won the Golden Apple award for Best Inclusion Initiative in Cumbria, having been nominated by one of our students and his parent. 


We also work directly with families where students no longer attend school.  

who we are

Our Alternative Provision is led a qualified teacher, experienced in providing engaging and stimulating outdoor activities. We work supporting students with behavioural needs as well as autism, bipolar and other conditions.


All our staff are DBS checked.  


Our 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!


 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.  


What we offer

By arrangement, we work with school-aged individuals on a case-by-case basis for one or two days per week. Short term afternoon sessions are also available for groups of up to 6 students.


There is a maximum ratio of 1 adult to 4 students so groups are always small; often we also have another adult 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 targets jointly set by school/parents/students and staff, with regular updates and reviews.


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. Students fill in diaries to help develop their  thinking and reflection skills, and have just started using materials from the Centre for Youth Impact to help us measure the progress our students make in their empathy, emotion management, initiative, team work, problem solving and responsibility.






our shared expectations

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.

Behaviour and Relationships Policy
Behaviour & relationships policy - Code
Adobe Acrobat Document 185.5 KB

more information

For more information, contact Rachael at rachael@susansfarm.co.uk

the farming calendar

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.