What is the Rural Dimension?
Many rural schools have built up departments catering for students who are interested in agriculture, horticulture and land–based industries. This is in response to demand and to provide suitable preparation for future career opportunities. The Rural Dimension specialism recognises and affirms this.
Here at Chipping Campden we are fortunate to have the support of a wide range of excellent local farms and businesses which we regularly visit, learning directly from the professionals.
In addition we have developed a useful range of agricultural and horticultural facilities on site so as to give our rural learners lots of opportunities for hands–on experience. We have high quality school gardens and a large polytunnel for teaching and for crop production.
Through the generosity of locals we have the use of 5 paddocks for livestock. These adjoin the school fields. We have also brought a derelict 3 acre traditional orchard back into cultivation. The students make apple juice on site which we retail to staff and in local farmers markets.
The orchard is managed for maximum biodiversity and is used regularly by the sixth form for ecological investigations. We have a flock of pedigree Cotswold Longwool sheep which we enter into agricultural shows and our Gloucestershire Old Spot pigs supply the canteen with sausages and pork and apple burgers. We also have a flock of commercial hybrid chickens which provide eggs for the staff and the canteen.
These facilities allow us to offer GCSE Environmental and Land-based science as an option. This course is always very popular and oversubscribed. Our results are impressive and students regularly exceed expectations of performance.
We have links with many other schools – primary visits are common and through our secondary partnerships (Launchpad) we have given places to students from other secondary schools on courses such as the Environmental and Land-Based Studies Diploma/Principal Learning. This has proved to be very successful and popular with the students.
We have established a Rural Crafts course with innovative practice in dry stone walling, thatching, hurdle making, willow work, charcoal making etc. Many students who have taken these courses have gone on to gain apprenticeships in their chosen craft.
All of the above have led to increased motivation and high value-added scores. Our approach of experiential learning or “learning by doing” is highly popular with the students and what’s more, it really works!