Hillcrescent is a rural training centre for people with learning difficulties. Hillcrescent Care Farming provides a supervised, structured programme of farming related activities. Students learn and take part in crop and vegetable production, estate skills and animal husbandry with small animals (rabbits & guinea pigs) & livestock (sheep, goats, pigs &chickens).
The farm is owned and managed by two teachers, Katie and Stuart, who both have vast experience with SEN children and day farming. The farm is local to Forest Oak in Water Orton just 4 miles away.
For six weeks at the start of the school year, four students from Year 10, Rebecca Encill, Ben Nichol, David Whittaker and another, took part in an Introduction to Land Based Studies. The students learnt the Health and Safety rules of working on the farm and the procedures and practical knowledge needed when working with animals.
The students learnt how to work as part of a team and were able to demonstrate this when given the practical construction task of building a Pig Arc and Picnic table. They were able to observe Stuart and then continue building, measuring and constructing with Stuart’s guidance. This task was all linked to Asdan Challenges such as Number Handling, World of Work and Technology.
The students took part in an introduction to tractor driving and were able to follow instructions safely and encouraged to support each other. They were shown how to steer, reverse and how to maintain the tractor.
The students were given lots of practical tasks throughout the six weeks based around animal care. They were able to work independently by week 3, when cleaning out, feeding, health checking and preparing the stables for the horses. Rebecca and another student became extremely confident around the horses and prepared the horses feet for the farrier. Rebecca was very eager to restrain sheep and tag the sheep’s ears!
In the final week they learnt Bush Craft Skills; they worked as part of a team to build and light a fire to cook hotdogs. They used the tomatoes and onions they had helped grow as a relish!
In terms of success the pupils clearly engaged in the scheme of work and partook in a number of activities. The delivery and approach of teaching, guiding and motivating the pupils was consistent throughout the six week programme. All the children faced new situations, challenged their own abilities and supported each other throughout.
At the start of the Spring Term, four more students, Liam Sharpe, Rebecca Smitherman, Connor Howe and another will start their six week training.