“Great oaks from little acorns grow.”
14th century proverb

  • Focus on nature at British boarding schools | Dickinson School Consulting
  • Focus on nature at British boarding schools | Dickinson School Consulting

Focus on nature at British boarding schools

The news that Dauntsey’s is reviving its Bee Club, which originally ran in the early 1970s, provided the impetus for us to focus on nature studies and farming at our British boarding schools.

Dauntsey’s is building an ecologically designed apiary, powered by solar panels, to provide a covered observation area for pupils to view the beehives, and the school is also expanding its wildflower meadows. As the member of staff leading Bee Club said: “Bees perform a vital role in agriculture through pollination and, as an English boarding school set in rural Wiltshire, we felt it was important for the school to learn more about them. It will be amazing to get up close to the hives from the viewing area, see the bees at work and understand how they operate within the colony.

Another school with a strong focus on nature as part of its pupils’ education is Abbotsholme, which has a 70-acre working farm. Up to Year 9, everyone plays an active role in rural life at the school, and thereafter can choose to study Agriculture and Estate Management or Equestrian as part of a tailored programme.

Via its wide-ranging outdoor education – working with animals, bee keeping or gardening within the walled garden – Abbotsholme provides plenty of opportunities for pupils to foster their understanding of the natural world and environmental sustainability. For instance, the school kitchens provide healthy meals made from livestock reared on the farm – the very embodiment of the “farm to fork” principle and zero “food miles”.

Lancing College also has a 70-acre working farm – theirs set within the beautiful South Downs National Park – with education, conservation and animal welfare at the heart of its foundations.

Producing sheep, pigs and poultry in line with traditional and current farming practice, the farm project also features game and conservation management, including a programme dedicated to the re-introduction of the grey partridge.

Part of the school’s co-curricular offering, the farm is open to any pupil with an interest in learning about modern farming methods, as well as traditional activities such as hedge-laying, coppicing and green wood-working. It is firmly integrated with the academic side of life too, providing opportunities to take subjects such as Biology, Geography and Business Studies out of the classroom and into practical situations.

These are just three examples from a wide range of schools that take their pupils’ academic and co-curricular life outside into nature. Please contact us, so Gina can help guide you to the one that would best suit your child.

Photos by kind permission of Dauntsey's and Lancing.