Ladybridge High is a part of a growing number of schools across UK offering outdoor educational opportunities, through running their own farm. Steve manages the farmlands and cares for the range of animals onsite including; donkeys, pigs, goats, rabbits, ducks and hens. The farm is currently primarily utilised by visiting primary school groups, used to create an interactive learning environment to contextualise the teaching of ‘life cycles’ in plants and animals.
Aside caring for the farm’s animals, the role of Farm Lead requires Steve to maintain the woodlands and meadows surrounding the school grounds. Steve’s current restoration project involves revitalising the pond area at Ladybridge, which has suffered from some considerable neglect in recent times. He will then be moving on to redevelop the woodlands and meadow lands, creating a nature trail with a den building and mini beast hunting areas.
Steve achieved an overall Distinction in his Level 3 Diploma in Countryside Management from Reaseheath, returning to education after a break of nearly 30 years. Steve commented; “taking that leap back into education is the best decision I’ve ever made. After 16 years in the motor trade and previous jobs as a printer and furniture maker, I’ve finally found my calling in conservation and countryside restoration.
“My time at Reaseheath has been an important part of my life and will always be grateful for the help and advice from my tutors, which as a result I have the job I wanted and enjoy”.
Moving forward, Steve has ambitious plans to establish a ‘Forest School’ at Ladybridge. The Forest Schools initiative is a national educational movement that takes an active and immersive approach to learning in the outdoors. Steve mentioned: “ the farm and revitalised woodlands will be perfect to facilitate Forest School sessions. I’m excited to get this project off the ground and help forge more opportunities for young people to engage with the farm and their beautiful natural surroundings.”