When I chaired the first Countryside Classroom group meeting in 2012, we had a strong sense there was a need to work together across food, farming and natural environment sectors to ensure more schools could become aware of the many opportunities available to them.
As we gathered more partners and then started to research what teachers really wanted, we realised that we needed to create a single reference point to find teaching resources, outdoor places to visit, and experts that teachers could call on.
After much more careful research and design, we can now launch Countryside Classroom, backed by nearly thirty partner organisations and hundreds of contributors.
We are confident that it will be a valuable gateway for anyone involved in the education of children across the curriculum by offering a unique online directory of trusted and approved organisations, resources and materials that will help teachers deliver a wide variety of lessons that are both curriculum and non-curriculum based.
Our aim is to enable every child to leave school with experience, knowledge and understanding of food, farming and the natural environment. As a consortium we will not only reach out to teachers, but champion this cause with government, policy-makers, and the public.
As we launch this first joint venture, the Countryside Classroom web site, we are more convinced than ever of the need for children and young people to engage with these important issues. If we are to see improvements in children's’ health, wellbeing and preparedness for adult life, and long-term solutions to global challenges of sustainability and food security, then education has to be at the centre.
I am very proud to be chairing the Countryside Classroom consortium and greatly admire the work of our partner organisations. On behalf of the consortium, I am also very grateful to our financial supporters without whom this would not have come to fruition. I would urge more organisations to get involved, and teachers to continue telling us how we can help them, so that more children can benefit from all that is on offer to them.
Lord Curry of Kirkharle
Chairman of Countryside Classroom