Countryside Classroom - Connecting schools with food, farming and the natural environment

Growing Schools has been re-launched as Countryside Classroom, the largest ever partnership of organisations who are committed to helping children learn about food, farming and/or the natural environment.

It is the vision of Countryside Classroom that schools and teachers across the UK will embrace food, farming and the natural environment as essential components of a broad and balanced curriculum, incorporating them into day-to-day learning. As a result of this, every child will have the opportunity to learn about and experience these topics in diverse ways that are increasingly supported by experiences outside the classroom.

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Health & Safety Guidance

One of the great benefits to children of learning in the living environment is that it gives them far more physical freedom than classroom learning, and offers them a much wider range of experiences. It can also introduce a range of potential hazards in a controlled way, so that risks are minimised but nevertheless understood. Concern about health and safety issues should not act as a deterrent to more adventurous learning; on the contrary, adventurous learning gives the ideal opportunity to explore these issues with pupils, thus making a valuable contribution to their developing life skills.

Teachers intending to work with children outside the classroom need to follow the guidance issued by their LAs, and should be able to get help from the LEA’s Outdoor Education Adviser, and the school’s Educational Visits Coordinator. In addition, there is extensive and authoritative guidance on the Department for Education website.

Farms and gardens

The following are useful for information about health and safety in relation to farming and gardening:

Visit My Farm - This website has been produced by Farming and Countryside Education (FACE) to help teachers plan and organise visits to farms including appropriate health and safety information.

RHS Campaign for School Gardening provides registered schools with a factsheet on health and safety in the school garden, a generic risk assessment, and a downloadable poster on garden safety.

Code of Practice - The purpose of this Code of Practice is to help ensure visitor health and safety by providing sensible, practical and proportionate guidance on preventing or controlling ill health at visitor attractions.