July 2021

We are now approaching the end of our academic year. This has been a testing year for everyone, our students have coped with continual uncertainty, testing, isolation and we would like to all say a big congratulations to the way they have dealt with this year! The sun is occasionally shining, the farm and garden are alive with wildlife. The garden is in full production mode, growing a variety of seasonal produce.

BTO Equipment Donation

We recently received a brilliant donation from the BTO through donors – Jim G, Nick C, Ruth W, Mark B and Robert S.
The equipment we received contained one scope and tripod, two pairs of binoculars, various FSC guides and a bird ID book.
We have already began to use the equipment and are all learning the first steps of bird ID. Our students have really enjoyed exploring the landscape and beginning to identify the variety of birds we have on site.
We are all truly blown away by the donation and will enjoy and care for this kit for a long while. It has quickly become a student favourite activity and has inspired them to become more engaged in bird watching and ID.  

Student Success

During this year all our students have done brilliantly! As mentioned above, it has been a difficult year for all with the ongoing covid-19 situation. However, our City and Guilds students have all progressed well on their courses, two have completed their path for this year both achieving a Level 1 Land Based Studies qualification, one on the award pathway and the other on the certificate pathway both achieving a grade of distinction. This is marvellous news and well deserved for them both, next year they will be progressing onto higher level qualifications to continue their journeys. Our non accredited learners have also been achieving this year, working towards their personal development goals and life skill progression. All our non accredited learners have excelled against the targets set and we look forwards to their progression next year as well.

We would also like to thank the huge effort our staff have made this year, helping students engage with their goals and coursework, helping students with problems or worries and steadying the ship. We work as a team and through this are able to support all our learners in a joined approach, benefiting every learner we have. Thank you team!

Over the summer holiday period we remain open for our adult learners, we close for a fortnight in the middle of August to give staff a well deserved rest, refresh any internal spaces and update staff training to prepare for the academic year to come. Next year we hope for a more settled world in the background but whatever happens, we know that we can guide our learners through these uncertain times and help them achieve their personal goals and qualifications.

Kitchen Garden

Our Kitchen garden renovation is now complete! We have created wider, level pathways, built and re covered two polytunnels, created three new raised beds, four compost bins, rainwater harvesting and automated watering, a new wildlife pond and fencing to enclose the area. The majority of the works have been completed with the aid of grant funding and all work has been completed by staff, volunteers and students as part of their course. The garden is now accessible, multifunctional and a haven for wildlife.

Crayfish Trapping

Over the past few weeks our students have been getting involved with our programme of trapping and removing the invasive American signal crayfish from the local watercourse. This is a project licensed by the Environment Agency and with landowner approval. So far this year we have caught over 120 and the numbers continue to rise as the waters warm. Once caught, students record the size and sex of each crayfish allowing us to create a data set of what sized crayfish, how many and the gender across the year so far.