Every Tuesday and Friday morning three students have the opportunity to go along to the ‘farm’, The Shetland Pony Welfare Trust Rescue Farm in Hale Village, to help muck out the stables, clean down all of the yard area and clear the massive fields of horse ‘dung’.
On the farm it’s not just Ponies and Horses that live there, ‘residents’ include Pigs, Sheep, Billy Goats, Chickens, Hens, Lamas, Rabbits, Cats, Dogs and also Geese. These are all animals that have been ‘rescued’; some have literally been just dumped at the gates of the farm, by their owners not wanting them anymore, which is very sad.
Whilst our students have the opportunity to see, be around and help care for all of these animals, they have also shown an excellent understanding and empathy towards nature and the animals when working with and around them.
Students all wear waterproof clothing, gloves and wellies over their school uniform and as you can well imagine it really is hard work, which the students (some more than others) have all presented an excellent attitude towards and really do get stuck in.
The students have enjoyed and coped with the physical aspect really well, but the ‘smell and muck’ on clothes (also in my car) is another matter!!
We began ‘volunteering’ at the farm following half term February 2014. Since then practically all of the students that attend school have had the opportunity to attend and take part in the voluntary work.
Staff usually select which students attend the farm using full attendance, good behaviour in school, work completed and staying in class as our ‘selection criteria’, which encourages and promotes students to think about making the ‘right choices’ in and around school on a daily basis.