School leaders at Abbey Court are forging ahead with the introduction of a rural activities centre (school farm) on land adjoining the Medway school. Comprising an outdoor classroom, stable block and livestock barns, a pond and three paddocks, as well as areas for chickens, rabbits and pigs, the centre will be purpose-built to meet the special needs of the children and young adults who attend the school. A horticultural area with polytunnel and raised beds will add to the opportunities for them to develop life skills.
The benefits afforded by the centre cannot be overstated. As well as providing the regular experience of working with animals, it will offer social and inclusive opportunities, improvements to health and well-being, greater feelings of confidence and self-esteem and an endless variety of learning activities. Teachers are bursting with ideas for the future of the school farm and excited about what it can offer their pupils and other schools in the Medway Towns.
Rated Outstanding by Ofsted, Abbey Court School is for children aged 3-19 years with profound learning difficulties, life-threatening and life-limiting conditions. The primary department recently moved to Strood where, along with the building, came eight acres land. A public consultation to create a rural activities centre won the support of the local community and the school hope their new centre will be operational by the autumn.