HRH The Duchess of Edinburgh launches our first ever Gold Demonstration School

Leading agri-education charity, LEAF Education today launched Brockhill Park Performing Arts College as its first ever Gold Demonstration School. Brockhill is a beacon of excellence for all educators wanting to inspire their students, teaching them the value of food production, farming, and the natural environment.

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The Kent-based secondary school receives LEAF’s highest accolade - the Gold Demonstration School award for its commitment to using food production, farming, and the environment as part of its broad and balanced curriculum. With the success of their GO (Great Outdoors) curriculum for students in KS3, leaders at Brockhill have extended its provision to local primary schools and special schools developing a ‘Farming School’ on site. This unique offering extends the experiential learning opportunities provided on the school farm for pupils in the wider community, inspiring them to learn more about the food and farming industry. As well as giving students first-hand experience of the farm-to-fork journey, they have empowered their student council to work with LEAF Education and their independent catering team on an ambitious project to raise awareness of sustainably-sourced produce, highlighting local produce to encourage the school community to make informed nutritional choices.

HRH The Duchess of Edinburgh, saw first hand the wonderful opportunities that Brockhill Park provides its students. HRH spoke to students whilst touring the school’s farm, learning about how these students have the opportunity to experience and learn first-hand. HRH learnt about the aspirations of the students and their desire to ensure we have a sustainable food system in place that meets our current and future needs. Also learning about the pride that the students have in their livestock and the produce they create to sell in their own farm shop. HRH is no stranger to the work of Brockhill Park staff and student’s, as they were involved in the LEAF pioneering research seeking the opinions of 12-19 year olds on food production, farming and careers in 2018.

Charles Joseph, Principal at Brockhill Park Performing Arts College said: “We are delighted to have been recognised by LEAF Education for our work in connecting children to the story of their food. In today’s society, it is vital that children learn about sustainability and food security. They will then be able to make informed choices that will impact upon food, farming, and the environment. Becoming a Gold Demonstration School inspires us to keep extending our provision and sharing our school farm and gardens with not only our students and community but beyond to a national and even international scale.”

Carl Edwards, LEAF Director, Education and Public Engagement added: “We are incredibly proud to announce Brockhill Park Performing Arts College as our first Gold Demonstration school, focussing specifically on food production and farming education. Our work with thousands of school children each year shows that providing young people with opportunities to learn about how their food is produced and where it comes from has many positive impacts. From promoting health and well-being, raising awareness of issues around the climate crisis and creating greater connections to the natural environment, we are equipping future consumers with the knowledge and experiences to make more informed sustainable food choices.”

“Farming is relevant to every aspect of the curriculum. We want to celebrate schools that are leading the way in embedding farming into their teaching and support them in developing a whole school ethos.

“Our aim is to work alongside our Demonstration Schools and the wider farming and education sectors to set the highest standards in agricultural education provision. We are excited for our continued collaboration with Brockhill Performing Arts College on projects that support and lead other schools to teach the value of farming in their own settings.”

Jo Hatton LEAF Regional Education Consultant South East concluded: “The team at Brockhill Performing Arts College are inspirational, their dedication to ensuring every student has an understanding of the importance of the rural economy and their role within it, really is worthy of a gold standard. I always enjoy working with the staff and students; helping to develop their offering and supporting new initiatives in such a forward-thinking school is a real treat.”

Brockhill Park Performing Arts College was launched as a LEAF Education Gold Demonstration School on 26th April 2023.

For more information, visit https://leaf.eco/education/for-teachers/leaf-education-demonstration-schools