New Educational Programmes at Cotswold Farm Park

person icon Adam Hensons Cotswold Farm Park

We are talking to Beth from Adam Henson's Cotswold Farm Park who has recently joined as their education officer about the exciting changes that are happening at the farm this year.

an you tell us a bit about some of the new educational programmes you are delivering at the Farm this year?

"This year, we have redeveloped our educational programme, and we now offer two types of trip: self-guided and guided.

With a self-guided trip, groups are free to come and explore the farm park at their leisure. They can watch the seasonal farming demonstrations, visit the animal barns and explore the areas outside (including a conservation area, a woodland walk and plenty of play areas). They also can feed the animals out on the 'Rare Breeds through History Trail' with the animal snacks provided.

Guided groups can enjoy scheduled time to visit the animal barns and outdoor areas, and also choose from our Farmer Package or Animal Package:

  • The Farmer Package consists of an interactive session which covers topics such as where our food comes from, seasonality, food miles, Fairtrade and egg and milk production. Children even get the change to help us turn some of our wheat grain into flour!
  • The Animal Package focuses more on the animals at the farm park and how we care for them. It covers topics such as life cycles, growth, habitats and diets, as well as the various uses of the animals on the farm. It also includes a guided tour of our animal barns, and there's even a chance to hold some of our smaller animals!
(These hands-on guided packages can be tailored to suit KS1, 2 and 3.)

SEN education

Do teachers have to be learning about wildlife / animals to visit the Farm or can you integrate other topics into the visit?

"A visit to the farm park ties in wonderfully with Science, as it's an ideal place to learn about animals, farming, the environment and sustainability. Our guided sessions also make links to Citizenship and even Design Technology (cooking and nutrition).

We also have a variety of resources available online which groups can use before, during or after their trip to ensure they get the most from their time with us. These resources link with many areas of the National Curriculum.

an students learn about more than one topic when we visit you or do you focus on one topic each school trip?

"Our guided talks have a focus on a particular theme, but depending on how you choose to spend the rest of your visit with us, you can cover different topics with our online resources.

What resources do you offer to teachers looking to book an educational visit with you?

"Online, you can find many resources (catering for KS1,2 and 3) to use as pre- and post- visit activities, or while you're here at The Cotswold Farm Park. This enables you to make the trip worthwhile, contextualising your visit and enabling you to link it to many curriculum areas. The resources include: wildlife spotter sheets, teachers' breed 'cheat sheets', scavenger hunts, word searches and crosswords, card games and even farm themes story suggestions and PE games!

school farm trip

otswold Farm Park has been a champion of sustainability for decades, why do think it is important to teach children the value of sustainable farming?

"In an ever changing world with a growing population, the work of farmers has never been more important. Quite often, people are unaware of all that farmers are doing to protect the environment. As a rare breeds centre, even the animals that we keep are being bred to protect the future of farming and ensure sustainability. Educating our visitors, whatever their age, about the value of sustainability, can only help the future of British farming and perhaps even inspire some to one day get involved!

Do the students get the chance to meet the animals when they visit you for a self-led visit or do they have to book a guided visit?

"All our visitors can meet the animals, no matter what type of visit they have booked! As a self-guided group, you are free to explore the farm park at your leisure. This includes watching the farming demonstrations and meeting and handling some of our many residents! If you are keen to hold a chick, rabbit or guinea pig, we recommend that you come into the Discovery Barn in slightly smaller groups of up to 12 children. This enables our friendly staff to give you the time and attention needed to get out the animals and assist you with the handling.

Is it only pastoral farming that children can learn about or can you show them about arable farming too?

"As a rare breeds centre, our main focus is on the animals; our arable enterprise is separate to The Cotswold Farm Park, and so is not open to the general public. However, if you come on a guided visit and choose our Farmer Session, we go into more detail about arable farming whilst learning all about where our food comes from. You can also learn about arable farming from our signage around the park. If there's anything else you'd like to know, you can always ask one of our knowledgeable team members - they're always happy to talk about the work of the farm and answer your questions!

What would a typical trip to the farm look like and how long does it last?

"Self-guided groups can arrive and depart in their own time, exploring the park at their leisure within the public opening times.

With a guided group, your day will include:

  • Arrival at 10am. There's time for a snack and toilet break before a team member gives you a short welcome talk at about 10.30.
  • A guided session (Farmer or Animal) of up to one hour.
  • Half an hour to explore the animal barns.
  • 45 minutes for lunch.
  • 45 minutes to explore the areas outside, including The Rare Breeds through History Trail, Conservation Area and Woodland Walk. (Don't forget to feed our greedy goats with the animal snacks provided!)
(N.B: activities will not necessarily be in this order.)

Schools generally leave at about 2pm, but are welcome to stay longer and enjoy some free time!

How expensive is it to bring a school trip to the Farm?

"Self-guided session: �5 per child + 1 free adult for every 5 children.

Guided session: �8.50 per child + 1 free adult for every 5 children.

(Carers are also free).

Is the farm visit suitable for all age ranges?

"Definitely. We pride ourselves on the fact that people of all ages can enjoy a day at the farm park and come away having learnt something. We are particularly popular with primary aged children, but also enjoy welcoming older groups from secondary schools, colleges, universities and U3As! Our team endeavours to tailor visits to suit groups of all ages and abilities.

How muddy is it on the Farm? What type of clothing do you recommend children bring with them?

"As we are nearly 1000 feet about sea-level, we are quite exposed and can enjoy some extreme weather! If it's cold, we recommend that children wrap up warm with coats, hats, scarves and gloves. If it's wet, wellies (and thick socks!) are a must! Likewise, in hot weather, we recommend that children wear sunhats and sun cream.

an you tell us what part of the farm children enjoy and why?

"Children always enjoy the rare opportunity to get close to the animals and even handle some of them. They also love feeding our greedy goats outside! And, of course, our Bouncy Pillows are always a hit!

If you had to sum up why Cotswold Farm Park is such a great place for a school trip, what would you say?

"The Cotswold Farm Park offers a rare opportunity to get close to and interact with farm animals of all shapes and sizes. With our multisensory approach, we cater for visitors of all ages and abilities and our friendly staff always endeavour to give our visitors a tailored, personal experience. And, of course, being able to explore the great outdoors in a beautiful rural location is an added bonus!

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