Some BCS students and staff, recently spent a week at Jamie’s farm. Below is a letter which was received by Toby Meanwell, Head of Jamie’s Farm.

Dear Ms Burns, Mr Bray and Ms Andress,

We are writing to share some highlights from the fantastic week that your students spent on the Farm with us. They were focused, kind and caring, and enthusiastic; hard working and up for every challenge. They also engaged in reflecting on how this could be useful in their future, sharing positives and challenges for their return.

During their visit they participated in a range of activities including farming, cooking, gardening, log chopping, craft work and walking in the countryside, including a hike up on the South Downs. We lived like a family; working, eating and playing together. After each meal they reflected on their success and behaviour, giving compliments and showing recognition of the rest of the group’s achievements. All of the students also benefitted from having one to ones with our therapy coordinator, as well as group therapeutic sessions.

Some highlights include
• Tommy was in his element on the farm and definitely where he feels most confident and relaxed. He showed maturity and calmness in front of the group, demonstrating his leadership and focus.
• Angelika showed a calm and caring side on the farm this week, something that she should be encouraged to show in school. She especially enjoyed and appreciated the time with animals.
• Maks developed in his confidence through the week and demonstrated an ability to share his needs.
• Kiera managed to use her energy in a positive way and was able to follow instructions at times, working well in the kitchen and on the farm.

“Jamie`s Farm has taught me behaviour strategies which I feel I can take back to school with me. I have seen how positivity and working in the team can ensure students feel included. If students are listened too, they feel they have choices.” Beal High School visiting teacher January 2020.

The first weeks back can be very tricky for the students; it can take a while to readjust but most show significant improvement. In fact, our impact data from the last academic year shows that 6 months later, 63% young people have shown improved engagement, and 67% have improved self-esteem evident within school.

We have produced individual school support notes to use as you see fit and have written letters and sent directly to their homes. Over the next few weeks we are available for support, and will follow-up back in school, to celebrate their achievements.

We thoroughly enjoyed the week and hope to work with you on the farm again in the future. Once again, many thanks for making such a rewarding visit possible!

With best wishes,
Toby Meanwell, Head of Jamie’s Farm