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Food and farming should be part of the national STEM curriculum

A teacher survey on the NFU’s groundbreaking education scheme, Farming STEMterprise, has shown that over 90 percent of teachers who used the resources think food and farming is a great fit for teaching STEM subjects.

4 February 2020, at 9:59am

The free Farming STEMterprise resources take Key Stage 2 children (aged 7-11) through every step of setting up a farm shop business, from growing their own ingredients and using market research to test ideas, to designing responsible packaging and calculating expected profit.

After implementing the NFU’s resources within their lessons, 97 percent of teachers surveyed said they associated farming with teaching Science, 95 percent said it had a place within Design and Technology and 91 percent said the same for Maths. Prior to using these resources, only 23 percent of teachers had considered farming to be relevant to their curriculum teaching.

In its Manifesto the NFU highlights the effectiveness of teaching STEM subjects through the lens of food and farming – building children’s understanding of food and the environment and delving into the science behind production.

NFU President Minette Batters said: “First and foremost, the national curriculum needs to be socially relevant and useful to children. As the country works towards a healthier and greener Britain, increasing young people’s understanding of food provenance and production is becoming ever more important and embedding food and farming within STEM learning can help the next generation navigate their way through the future dietary, environmental and career decisions that will inevitably come their way.

“By putting children in touch with farming, the countryside and rural life, they can learn how to protect the environment and encourage biodiversity, understand the benefits of a healthy, balanced diet and what this looks like, and appreciate British farming’s role in overcoming the greatest challenge of our time – climate change.

“These resources also offer huge benefits to teachers. Not only are they free, but they are specifically designed to reduce workload and do not require any prior knowledge on the subjects within it.

“Since its launch a year ago the NFU Education team has worked with nearly 800 teachers across the country. It’s fantastic to see so many schools getting behind food and farming as a tool for them to teach, and seeing children increasing their understanding of real-life farm business and all the challenges and opportunities that come with it. Time and time again we have seen Farming STEMterprise ignite children’s passion for STEM subjects, and that’s what it’s all about.”