The SAA is a charity with a remit to promote life-long learning about food, farming and the countryside. The Association runs an active education programme in partnership with local schools, including the annual showcase event, the School Farm and Country Fair, which will take place on 20th April 2017. Two competitions are being launched to schools now which will come to fruition at the Suffolk Show.
The quest to find the Suffolk Farming School of the Year 2017 has begun with entries invited from primary schools across Suffolk. The current title holder is Saxmundham Primary School. (Pictured)
The competition is an important element of the SAA’s ongoing programme of work with local schools to encourage a greater appreciation of food, farming and the countryside amongst young people, and to encourage them to consider careers in the sector when they are older.
Embracing a different theme each year, the 2017 competition will focus on the machinery and technology involved in modern day farming. In three stages, the competition encourages a deeper exploration of the rural economy across a number of different curriculum areas and is aimed at key stage two pupils.
In the first round of the competition, pupils are asked to design and build a model ‘tractor of the future’, made from re-cycled materials. Following the first round, on the strength of their machinery models, five schools will be selected to go through to the second round of the competition and attend a learning day at Trinity Park in May. The learning day features a series of interactive workshops, including cookery, art and Q & As with farmers. The day is hosted by industry experts and is designed to allow pupils to gain a greater understanding of food and farming. Pupils are assessed on their knowledge, team work and overall enthusiasm. After the workshop stage, three schools are selected for the final stages of the competition.
Finalist schools compete in a showcase finale at the Suffolk Show where they give a presentation on all they have learnt in the previous stages of the competition. Schools can use song, dance, poetry and other performing arts to deliver their presentation before the winning school is announced in front of a VIP audience. The Trophy is presented to the winning school by the Suffolk Show President. Representatives from the winning school are also invited to attend the SAA Awards Dinner and the County Harvest Festival Service at St Edmundsbury Cathedral in October.
Launched in 2015, the Schools Show Garden Competition is a relatively new initiative in the SAA’s education programme. It aims to highlight the scope of the land based economy by raising awareness of horticulture and garden design.
The Schools Show Garden Competition is open to all Suffolk primary schools at key stage 1 and 2. To take part in the challenge, schools are tasked with designing and building a 3m x 3m Show Garden reflecting the theme ‘Made in Suffolk’. Pupils design their
gardens in school, including growing and sourcing plants and materials, before building their garden on site at Trinity Park the week before the Show. The show gardens are now a very important part of the well-established and popular Flower Show area at the Show. Schools receive contributions towards the cost of plants and materials and also have the opportunity to meet with highly regarded, Suffolk landscape designer Ed Hopkins from Hopkins Gardens as part of their research. Schools are also invited to attend the show to explain the thinking behind their gardens to judges and visitors alike.
Schools interested in taking part in the Suffolk Farming School of the Year or the Schools Show Garden Competitions should contact the SAA’s education officer, by email Helen Fomenko or on 01473 707124.
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