BERA-logo-2Today’s post is c/o the BERA Blog.  Its focus is the whys and why nots of taking primary pupils on a farm visit and is written by Leanne Mattu  and Bethan Wood.  It draws on research funded by the Mains of Loirston Charitable Trust into the use of farm visits for primary school pupils, and how these related toScotland’s Curriculum for Excellence.  The study included teacher questionnaires (n=264) and interviews (n=14), and focus groups with pupils (n=74).

The blog begins:

In keeping with Scottish education historically, the importance of outdoor learning is emphasised in the Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) guidelines (Beames et al., 2009). There had been an apparent decline in time spent outdoors by pupils (Ross et al., 2007), and the guidelines seemed to offer an opportunity to address this.  The CfE curriculum design principles also emphasised relevant learning. Since around 80% of Scottish land is agricultural (Scottish Government, n.d.), and the food and drink industry makes a major contribution to the economy (FDFS, n.d.), learning about food and farming is clearly relevant. Furthermore, in Scotland as elsewhere, there have been concerns about children’s understanding of where food comes from (e.g. Dillon et al.,2003).  Farms are utilised as an educational resource in a range of ways internationally.