Pupils at Wells Park School, a residential primary school for five to 11 year olds with social, emotional and mental health difficulties, are transforming an area of land into a brand new farm with the help of a compact tractor donated by machinery giant Kubota UK.
This exciting new initiative is part of the school’s commitment to help children with behavioural difficulties enjoy learning. All the pupils at Wells Park School are referred by Essex County Council because they have become disengaged from mainstream schools and learning.
As part of this fantastic project, the school approached Kubota UK in search of support. Kubota recognised the importance of what Wells Park School are trying to achieve and decided to donate one of its industry leading B Series compact tractors to help the school achieve its plans for the farm.
Head teacher Matthew Surman commented: “At Wells Park, our vision is to give children who may not have suited mainstream schooling the opportunity to learn in different ways. We follow the National Curriculum but focus on using land-based industries like agriculture and horticulture to help them learn more effectively.
“The launch of our new Wells Park Farm is another great example of how we are trying to achieve this. The children will be completely hands-on in creating the farm, which will be a massive achievement for each and every one of them.
“They will also be responsible for managing the day-to-day farm operations with the support of our staff, which will obviously help them to have a greater understanding of the work and care that is needed to produce food.”
The farm at Wells Park School will include the cultivation of vegetables all year round and the farm will also carry pigs, goats and sheep. This important project aims to make the school more sustainable, with all the food produced being used for school dinners and evening meals as the majority of pupils at Wells Park board from Monday to Friday. Any surplus food produced will also be sold locally to help support other school projects.
Matthew continued: “We are absolutely delighted by the support from Kubota UK. Having a major global brand like Kubota recognise what we are doing helps make this a reality. It cannot be underestimated the impact that this has on the children and I’d like to thank Kubota for their support.”
Pupils that will have the opportunity to work on the farm will be those who are being rewarded for their efforts. For all the children, the Wells Park Farm is a prestigious project and something they all want to be involved in.
As part of the handover of the machine, Kubota UK’s Shannon O’Connor visited the school to give a special talk to pupils about the agricultural industry and to answer questions about the machine. Kubota presented each pupil with branded hats and goody bags, whilst the children also presented Shannon with a special paper mache orange tractor they had made.
Shannon said: “This is a superb project and one that Kubota UK is proud to be involved in. Giving these children the opportunity to be involved in farming goes a long way in developing their self-esteem and learning in a new way that ultimately we hope will benefit their long-term futures. If just one child decides to enter the agricultural industry as a career based on what the school is doing, this would be a brilliant achievement, it’s all about giving them a flavour of what this fantastic sector is all about and letting them take something from its roots to fruition.”
Ten-year-old Wells Park School pupil, Sam Bristow, said: “At my last school, we got to visit a farm, but here we get to be a part of it. I love farming and wouldn’t have the chance to do this and here we do. We are all really grateful to Kubota for donating the tractor, it’s amazing and shiny and is going to help us a lot.”
The Wells Park School Farm project is ongoing and the school would welcome any other support from local businesses in the Essex area or companies in the agricultural and horticultural markets.
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