Almost a third of all primary school youngsters think cheese comes from plants and nearly one in five think fish fingers are made from chicken! These startling statistics were revealed in a national children’s survey by the British Nutrition Foundation (BNF).
But this isn’t the case at one Hucknallschool which has tackled this lack of food knowledge in a dramatic way.
Headteacher at Broomhill Primary, Andrew Beckinsale-Yates together with site manager Paul Plaskett, have made good use of their five acre site by growing fruit and vegetables and rearing animals.
After successfully bringing chickens into the classroom, two pigs joined the crew last year and future plans mean more farm animals are on the way.
“I was aware, even before this report by the BNF, that many children think food just comes from Tesco which was why I have worked to educate them through our gardening scheme and now the animals,” said Andrew. “We have been growing vegetables and fruits like raspberries and strawberries for some time and then the children pick them and we use them in school dinners.”
After the success of the gardening programme, chickens were brought in to give pupils the chance to look after them and collect the eggs.
“The benefit of bringing animals onto the site is tremendous not only from an educational point of view but it brings out compassion in the children,” added Andrew. “There are loads of curriculum links from learning about the food chain in science to weighing food for maths and even art through making models and drawing pictures of the animals.
“It has proved a real success and we have had a very positive response from the children and parents.”
Part of the scheme is understanding the process of farming and not thinking of the animals as pets, which also means preparing the pupils for slaughter day.
“From the first day when the pigs arrived back in December, we have stressed the reasons why they are here and the children know they will eventually become food.”
That day is now here as yesterday the two seven month old Oxford sandy blacks headed to the abbatoir.
The next stage will be creating food for the children to enjoy.
“We have got local butcher Jonathan from Lawrence Severn onboard and he is going to turn the pork into sausages and make our very own Broomhill Bangers,” added Andrew. “We are hoping to get some of the children involved in the sausage making and everyone can then buy them.
Jonathan was delighted to join forces with the school and praised the efforts of educating the youngsters about food.
“I think it’s a great idea to get the children involved in the process and teach them that food doesn’t just come from supermarket shelves,” said Jonathan. “I’m looking forward to producing their special sausages which will be on sale from Thursday 20th June at our High Street shop.”
Now with the help of Mr Plaskett, Broomhill are preparing to expand their small holding and introduce some cows in September and a goat.
So next year it could be beef-burgers the children get to enjoy.
Visit our website at www.hucknalldispatch.co.uk for a video on Broomhill’s animals.
Blake Wright -Age 8
“I like to watch the pigs and see them get bigger and get messy in the mud when it was wet.”
Owen Orton-Age 10
“I like feeding the chickens and collecting the eggs and we give the pigs our fruit cores and vegetables peel.”
Darcy Davies -Age 10
“It has really helped us understand the way food is made and I really enjoy feeding the animals but not cleaning them out.”
Amber Harrison -Age 9
“When I clap the pigs follow me around. I think they are really funny because when they run their ears go back.”
Jessica Woolley - Age 8
“The pigs skin is really spiky and feels like a brush. I like going to see them first thing when I arrive at school.”