Adam Henson calls for introduction of GCSE in agriculture

Henson said he hoped to “do for farms what Rick Stein has done for fish”
Henson said he hoped to “do for farms what Rick Stein has done for fish”

Adam Henson, one of Britain’s best-known farmers, has called for the introduction of a GCSE in agriculture.

The presenter of BBC's Countryfile told The Times: “You can get a GCSE in religious studies and business, so why not in agriculture?”

Henson said he hoped to “do for farms what Rick Stein has done for fish”, and make farming a permanent subject on the school curriculum.

Recent figures by UCAS even shows agriculture at degree level is starting to gain popularity. Higher education courses in the agriculture, horticulture and animal care sector rose by 117 per cent.

On social media, the public seemed to be in favour of the introduction of a farming GCSE.

Twitter user Alison Minery wrote: "Why have they stopped The Environmental and Land Based GCSE?! It seemed a good basis, for working in conservation, countryside, & farming!"

Glyn Lucas said: "Farming GCSE suggested by @AdamHenson this is fantastic idea."

Welshracer wrote: "I think GCSE idea is a good one - I think kids would rather learn about Farming than about RE."

Indeed, the majority of Brits believe the public need to learn more about the origins of their food, new research has revealed.

Cash injection

Agriculture in the educational system has always seen its ups and downs.

Recently, the Scottish government announced a cash injection of £390,000 to educate school pupils about careers in farming, food and drink.

Employability Minister Jamie Hepburn said he wanted to make sure that the labour market is in a position to support projected growth and supply the next generation of professionals for the industry.

An important educational conference held earlier this year said that the future of agriculture and food production lies with young people, and that 'school farms' are important in building up passion.

The conference explored the role of rearing farm livestock in schools, and the value of land-based education, including the areas of agriculture, business, technology, food security, and the environment.

Young people are interested in where their food comes from, and the food supply chain - so the need to promote career opportunities in food and agriculture is vital, the conference heard.

National Farmers' Union has also got onboard with educating young people on farming matters. The union launched a new education roadshow - the Discovery Barn - to enthuse children to learn about agriculture and where their food comes from.

But in July, a school said it will close its on-site farm where pupils have been learning about farming and animals for nearly twenty years.

The reasoning behind the move is because pupils are not taking agricultural subjects enough.