Farming lessons 'positively impacts' pupil's education

Agriculture can be used effectively with STEM lessons, the NFU says (Photo: NFU Education)
Agriculture can be used effectively with STEM lessons, the NFU says (Photo: NFU Education)

Bringing food and farming lessons to the classroom can positively impact schoolchildren’s education and future careers, according to the NFU.

A new report by the union demonstrates how farming can be used to deliver science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) lessons through real world examples.

The report comes following a new survey that highlights a substantial skills gap in careers based around STEM subjects, not only in agriculture but across the economy.

The YouGov survey results reveal that one fifth of the teachers who responded struggle to teach any science during the week.

It also shows how using agriculture to teach these important subjects can help engage children at a crucial age and show them their potential for STEM-based careers.

With agriculture directly linked to elements within the current STEM curriculum, from life cycles and habitats to food chains and food technology, children have been learning key skills in real-life situations.

This played out in the survey, which showed 89% of respondents believed teaching about farming at primary school is important.

And over three-quarters (78%) said they thought their classes would learn more about STEM subjects in a non-classroom setting.

NFU President Minette Batters said farming provided an 'innovative and exciting way' to promote learning in a way the younger generation 'might not have seen before'.

"We have spent time working with schools to help teachers deliver all-important STEM subjects using real-life farming examples," she added.

"It’s been rewarding with countless teachers telling us of grassroot level triumphs, as pupils discover a whole new subject area that was previously uninspiring to them."

She explained that teaching STEM through real-life, practical situations could deliver 'many benefits' for children’s education and future career opportunities.

"This clearly demonstrates why the government should recognise the role of agriculture in inspiring STEM learning, to help connect pupils with the country’s farming heritage."