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 activities have played a huge part in helping children settle back into school.
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."
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."