‘Loan a Lamb’ farm initiative returns to South East schools

The South of England Agricultural Society‘s “Loan a Lamb” scheme has returned for another year, giving thousands of primary schoolchildren across Surrey and Sussex an opportunity to care for livestock and experience agriculture.

The scheme is supported by Leaf Education, and involves school staff and students caring for a ewe and her lambs for a week, giving students hands-on experience with livestock and agriculture.

The schools are loaned a pen and hutch, and supplied all of the tools and information needed to care for the animals, with the help of local farmers at hand to offer support and guidance.

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The South of England Agricultural Society (SEAC) has been running the scheme for three years to promote the importance of exposing children to agriculture and food production.

Alan Smith, from the SEAC’s education committee, said: “It is crucial to get children involved in agriculture at a young age.

 “The Loan a Lamb scheme is an exciting and educational opportunity for students in Surrey and Sussex.

“It provides a unique chance for students to learn about the importance of farming in producing our food and other products we use in day-to-day life.”

This year, 10 primary schools are participating in the scheme, four of which have already hosted their sheep, with the remaining six to take part after Easter.

New Barn School – a specialist school for children with autism – were loaned their lambs last week. 

Phil Brunton, the school’s nurture lead, said: ”Our school caters for pupils with high-functioning autism, and the presence of the sheep was a form of animal therapy for them.

“The pupils enjoyed being involved by mucking out, feeding the animals and ensuring they were well cared for. We enjoyed excellent communication with the farmer, who was always on hand to answer any of our queries.”

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