Market Drayton primary school opens its doors to the community for social farm open event

Primary pupils spent time with their furry and feathered companions as a Shropshire school opened its doors to the public for its Social Farm event.

 Headteacher Lisa Millington with Koralia Schoina and a guinea pig
Headteacher Lisa Millington with Koralia Schoina and a guinea pig

Staff and pupils at Longlands Primary School, in Market Drayton took part in the open event on Sunday to help raise awareness of their unique outdoor provision.

The social farm and allotment areas at the school give children the opportunity to gain countryside skills, develop a knowledge of animal care and learn how to grow their own produce.

Marie Highfield with Hoppy the rabbit and Scarlett Highfield, 13, and Ava Highfield, 11

George Hounsell, director of sport, health & community for the Marches Academy Trust said: “It was great to see so many current, past and new families engaging with our farm.

"Just under £600 was raised to help continue to develop this facility. Thank you to everyone who came along – we hope you had a brilliant time.”

Mia Freail, 9, with Leo the goat

Since the development of the school’s social farm back in 2019, the facility has continued to evolve and is now home to a whole host of animals including goats, rabbits and chickens.

All pupils are able to spend time on the farm helping out with maintenance, planting and allotment duties, seasonal tasks, cleaning, as well as assisting with the feeding and welfare of the animals during lessons, lunchtimes and during school clubs.

The social farm, located close to Drayton Meadows on Blandford Way, received a donation from Shropshire developer David Wilson Homes at the end of last year, to help add to the provision of the farm.

Poppy Bennett, 8, with the chickens

Donated items from the housebuilder included nest boxes, bird feeders, insect hotels and solitary beehives, to encourage wildlife into the outdoor space.

The project has been so successful that it has received several accolades over the course of its creation.

Since opening, the farm has received the prestigious Platinum Award from The Woodland Trust after the school participated in its Green Tree Schools initiative.

Chloi Schoynas, 9, with Gary the giant African land snail

They were also awarded RHS School Gardeners of the Year in 2020 and the Social Farm Award.

This year, Longlands Primary School entered into the Market Drayton In Bloom competition and won the award for 'Best School'.

Tegan Jex, 8, and Charlie Jex, 5

Commenting on their win, Sarah Bevan, assistant headteacher at the school said: "We are very proud of our eco garden and social farm.

"The children and our volunteers have created a very special place with plentiful produce and a beautiful array of flowers to support the eco-system.

"We like to utilise the garden to facilitate a positive impact on pupils' wellbeing."

Fleur Patterson, 7, and Georgia Price, 9
Dean Harries, 11

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