London primary school wins major farming competition

A teacher at the winning school said pupils didn't know much about farming before the projec
A teacher at the winning school said pupils didn't know much about farming before the projec

A London primary school has been named NFU's Farmvention Champion for their ingenious 'tractor of the future' design.

Ronald Ross Primary School's idea is an eco-friendly drone zip line that protects soil structure by sowing, maintaining and picking the crop from above, removing the need for heavy machinery.

Eight-year-old Afeefa Haroon, the mastermind behind the entry, explained that the zip line is good because it can do the farmer’s work without squashing the soil.

The final of the competition, which was first announced last year, took place in the House of Commons on Wednesday (13 March) where nine winners, which were chosen from over 1,000 entries, showcased their designs.

The event crowned Ronald Ross Primary as the winner of the grand prize of having their school turned into a farm for a day.

The competition challenged primary school children to use Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects to design a tractor of the future, create a healthy British snack product or create an environment for laying hens.

NFU President Minette Batters said: “The level of detail, ingenuity and resourcefulness in each design was truly staggering, and the pupils’ scientific and technological knowledge really shone though as they talked about their projects.

“Ronald Ross Primary School’s entry identified some of the biggest challenges farmers face on a day-to-day basis, such as worker shortages, soil compaction and energy usage, and provided solutions.”

She added: “I’m so glad that this competition has not only bridged the gap between children and their food, but opened the eyes of young people to the opportunities the farming industry offers.”

Ms Bains, a teacher at the school, said pupils didn't know much about farming before the project.

She said: “It was great to see their knowledge develop over the process. Afeefa’s entry was so impressive because she really thought about the problems farmers face, and then she came up with solutions.

“It’s so important that children, especially those who grow up in urban areas, are in touch with the countryside. One of my highlights was the farm visit and seeing the children running on this great open green field – it was amazing to see.”