Annabel Arrand initially struggled to find a placement due to the pandemic, but when The Read School offered her free reign to introduce agriculture into the curriculum she jumped at the opportunity.
“I felt lucky to have been offered a place at Read with the exciting opportunity to have free rein on finding ways to implement agriculture within the curriculum,” says Annabel.
Being from a mixed farm near York, and her mother being a chef, Annabel has always believed that “teaching and gaining an interest in food and farming at a young age is important and encourages children to take an active interest in agriculture later in life.”
So, when Annabel started placement she implemented her own Farm Club as an after-school activity.
The third-year BSc (Hons) Agri-Business student explains: “The Farm Club was an idea I had as I knew it was important to spark interest at an early age, so I decided to look into different farming systems each week and present them and make it as interactive as possible.
“The first week was an introduction to farming, listening to each other’s stories and farming experiences. We also touched on pig farming with pictures of my own pigs. The second week, we paired up with farmer Andrew as part of the NFU FarmerTime incentive, who answered questions about dairy farming. We have also looked at a year in the life of a sheep including lambing and got hands-on with wheat.”
Annabel admits she was “very nervous” about starting her placement, and only expected a few pupils to turn up to her after-school class, however, her confidence grew, and she found that half of the Junior School attended The Farm Club.
“I was pleasantly surprised by the children’s interest, their own stories of experiences with livestock, and intriguing questions. I hope more schools would look into the chance to teach pupils about food and farming,” explains Annabel.
Though the third-year student loved teaching at The Read School, once she graduates, Annabel hopes to travel for a few months to learn about different cultures with the aim of coming back to the UK and opening a Farm Shop and Tea Room.
But first, she will return to Harper Adams for her final year of study.
“Harper has definitely been some of the best years of life. I have made some of my best friends at Harper and have had some amazing experiences. I would definitely advise anyone thinking about going to Harper, to go!”