Dorset farm opens up to local school so it has more space for children to return to lessons

  • Report by Ben McGrail

A farming family has been praised for helping children in a village near Yeovil to make a safe return to the classroom.

Stuart and Tessa Casely have been opening up the doors of Gore Farm in Trent, a village between Sherborne and Yeovil, to pupils whose education has been interrupted by the pandemic.

The extra space at the farm has eased pressure on the school with pupils returning to lessons Credit: ITV News West Country

The farm has been run by Stuart’s family since the 1950s, and is owned by educational charity The Ernest Cook Trust.

Stuart Casely, Farmer at Gore Farm, said: "By welcoming children back onto the farm we’ve helped the school create the space they need as well as continuing adding variety to their learning.

"It is a curriculum-based education centre. It’s not just for a jolly, as such. Some of our best visits are held in the winter time when the barns are full of cattle - the atmosphere on the farm, the buzz around the farm is really good and the kids really buy into that as well."

It's hoped their time on the farm will reduce anxiety among the pupils Credit: ITV News West Country

Sherril Atkins, headteacher at Trent Young’s CE Primary School, said: “Not only has Gore Farm hosting a group of children each day enabled us to reduce risk by increasing the time the children are outside learning, but the activities have played a huge part in helping children settle back into school, re-establish friendships and reduce anxiety levels. 

Dr Victoria Edwards OBE, Chief Executive of The Ernest Cook Trust, said: “Connecting with nature is more important than ever as we recognise the benefits to physical and mental health. Stuart and Tessa have created a really special dynamic in their local community to support children’s wellbeing."