Get Closer to Nature: Roedean School’s Farm and Its Educational Impact

Roedean School is an all-girls independent day and boarding school in Brighton. Roedean offers a distinctively holistic education that champions character development and balances academic excellence with co-curricular pursuits.

In 2016, the Brighton private school opened an on-site farm. The farm provides unique opportunities for practical, outdoor experiences and skills development beyond the curriculum. In addition, the farm offers girls the chance to relax, build friendships, and learn values like environmental awareness and compassion for animals.

Research suggests experiences in the natural environment relate to a range of beneficial outcomes for young people. Being outdoors increases exposure to vitamin D in sunlight. Time in nature can also teach young people about their local wildlife, climate change, and other environmental issues.

This is how Roedean’s farm enhances the School’s curriculum and encourages students to get closer to nature.

Roedean School’s Farm: A Natural Oasis

As part of the Roedean School site, the farm enjoys a unique location: a clifftop setting between the English Channel and the South Downs National Park. The biodiverse landscape of the national park includes chalk grassland and lowland heath. The national park supports countless animal and plant species.

Located close to this protected area of biodiversity, the farm’s mission is to:

  • Promote sustainable farming and ecology.
  • Encourage outdoor pursuits.
  • Raise awareness about agriculture, food production, and the environment.
  • Increase awareness of livestock and farming.
  • Give students training and experience in the care and handling of animals.
  • Ensure animal welfare through guidance and training.

Nurturing Animal Welfare and Environmental Consciousness

Promoting environmental consciousness amongst young people ensures future generations understand pressing issues like climate change, biodiversity loss, and resource depletion.

The environmental principles of conservation and sustainable farming underpin all educational activities on Roedean’s farm. Conservation projects such as biodiversity surveys and studies on the impact of grazing tie into the School’s Biology, Geography, and PSHE (personal, social, health, and economic) curriculums.

Staff and students also work with local schools to promote conservationism. As part of Roedean’s Community Action Programme (CAP), students from nearby primary schools benefit from the farm’s educational opportunities.

Animal welfare and compassion also lie at the heart of the Roedean farm philosophy. To promote these values amongst its students, the Brighton private school encourages all tutor groups to undertake farming responsibilities. The farm follows traditional and current farming practices (including rearing and health care) to manage its sheep, goats, and poultry.

Mucking In at Roedean: The Brighton Private School’s Farm Club

Farm Club is a key part of the Brighton private school’s extensive co-curriculum. Students who attend Farm Club learn essential animal husbandry skills and how to look after livestock.

All students are welcome to join Farm Club regardless of their farming experience. Girls learn to care for the School’s flock of sheep, goats, and chickens. As such, the club is an important opportunity for any aspiring young veterinarian.

Farm Club also allows taking a break from academic studies. Girls who attend Farm Club can enjoy the fresh air and Roedean’s stunning coastal views.

The club runs four days a week, but approximately 20 students visit the farm each day to feed and care for the animals. Students involved in the club also work hard to make the farm a stimulating environment for the animals.

Megan, a Year 11 student, says she enjoys attending Farm Club because it offers “a nice break from the hustle and bustle of school.” She adds that it “feels calming to be outside.”

Farm Club has taught Megan lots about farming and caring for animals. During one lambing season, Megan helped build dens to keep the lambs warm. She also visited the farm to check on the lambs during her independent study sessions.

Even a difficult event, like the breech birth of a lamb, can be an “important learning experience.” Farm Club has inspired Megan to visit another farm to learn more about lambing on a larger scale.

Roedean Farm: Enriching the Educational Experience

Now in its seventh year, the farm at Roedean School continues to enrich students’ educational experiences.

Holly, a Roedean alumni who was a farm prefect, returned to the School to become a farm manager for one year. She says getting girls involved in the farm was “truly special,” and she found it rewarding to see girls “grow in confidence and knowledge.”

The farm has even inspired Holly’s career. She now studies Rural Enterprise and Land Management at Harper Adams University.

Phil Halsey, a maths teacher and former head farmer, says students gain a lot from the farm. He says: “Meeting other girls across different year groups and building those friendships is vital. For older pupils, it’s an opportunity to develop leadership skills and teach younger girls how to manage the farm. For younger girls, it’s a chance to learn new skills and work towards becoming a farm prefect.”

Halsey says time on the farm also has other benefits: “It can be a chance to relax and get away from exam stresses. With mixed year groups, girls often use the time to gain advice from older peers in a safe, informal space.”

Learn more about Roedean School’s farm.

About Roedean: An Exceptional Day and Boarding School in Brighton

Founded in 1885 by the Lawrence sisters, Roedean School is an exceptional independent day and boarding school in Brighton, Sussex. Girls aged 11-18 thrive at the Brighton private school, receiving the all-round education they need to become grounded, confident young women ready to take on the world.

One of the leading boarding schools in Brighton, Roedean offers full, weekly, and flexi-boarding options for students across the School. The multicultural nature of Roedean’s boarding community is a distinctive characteristic of the School. Boarders enjoy being part of a community rooted in 40 countries and nationalities.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *