Posted 16 June 2008
Forty Wolverhampton school pupils met pigs and calves, tracked their carbon footprint, hunted for bugs and got into a sticky bread-making mess during a visit to Harper Adams University College.
The year 10 GCSE science pupils from King’s CE School, Tettenhall, visited the Shropshire university college through a Natural England-funded project which is running as part of the Year of Food and Farming.
The 15-year-olds enjoyed tours of the campus, led by student ambassadors who took time out of their exam and revision schedules to share the joys of Harper life, then took part in activities that gave them an insight into study opportunities.
Some pupils investigated renewable energy or took part in an agricultural and environmental awareness tour of the site, while others assessed the extent to which five “freedoms” were afforded to pigs bred and raised on the college farm. Feedback included: “The pig unit was very interesting and the pigs were cool!” and “I enjoyed seeing the animals and how they are reared”.
One group of pupils came face to face with a calf – some having never seen a cow in the flesh before – during the Livestock Systems activity, when they learned about the Harper Adams dairy. This activity certainly hit all the senses. “It was good and interesting. I didn’t like the smell, but that was natural,” explained one pupil, with another adding: “It was interesting find out about how the dairy farms work.”
A messy time was enjoyed by pupils who part in a Field to Fork Chemistry in Bread lesson, where they learned about wheat and made a simple dough – although not all successfully! One student said: “I enjoyed making the bread – a first time experience!” and another commented that it was “educational but still fun”.
The teenagers were polled about the experience at the end of the day, with 89 per cent saying they felt the visit to Harper Adams had increased their understanding of British agriculture and the environment.
And 70 per cent said they hadn't realised before the visit that they could study agriculture, environment, land and countryside management at university. Some even expressed an interest in studying at Harper Adams and submitted requests for further information about courses.