Local school children who are studying agriculture at Reaseheath have selected pigs which went on to take top prizes at a premier livestock show.

The Year 10 pupils, who are aged between 14 and 15, chose six Large White x Landrace pigs for entry into the Staffordshire and Birmingham Agricultural Society’s Winter Fair, one of the country’s largest and most prestigious livestock events.

Using their newly learned skills in livestock handling and care, the pupils weighed the pigs and studied the show criteria before making their selection. The pigs, which were reared in our commercial pig unit, were awarded one second and two third prizes in the native breed, gilt and boar classes against strong regional competition.

The pupils, who all hope to work in the farming industry, study at Reaseheath for one day a week on our Key Stage 4 Vocational Opportunities Programme along with their GCSE studies at school. As well as working with the pigs they enjoy practical tasks with dairy cows and in the sheep unit. They also experience tractor driving, look at the college’s cropping systems and study the environmental impact of farming.

After two years they earn a Level 1 Diploma in Land-based Studies, which gives them a head start in their chosen career.

Said Course Manager Julie Baskerville: “These pupils did an excellent job and chose pigs which really stood out in the crowd. As future farmers they need to be able to understand the market and judge which livestock will give them the best commercial return. Hopefully they will go on to follow rewarding careers in the industry.”

The pupils themselves are great ambassadors for our popular Key Stage 4 Programme, which we also offer in animal care, construction, horse care, horticulture and motor vehicle engineering.

Said Cameron Evans of The Discovery Academy, Stoke: “It’s great  learning about sheep and pigs because we get to handle them and clean them out. As soon as I get home I want to come back again!”

Sam Perch from Brine Leas School, Nantwich, added: “I really enjoy coming to Reaseheath and working with the farm animals. I learn something new every week.”

And Chad Steadman from Westwood College, Leek, pointed out: “We’re learning how to handle farm animals safely, and that’s going to be really important later on.”

Pictured with their awards:

Julie Baskerville with Cameron Black (Bishop Heber High School, Malpas); Robert Heathcote (home schooled); Tai Brookes (Bishop Heber High School); James Cork (Madeley High School, Staffordshire); Sam Perch (Brine Leas School, Nantwich); Chad Steadman (Westwood College, Leek) and Cameron Evans (The Discovery Academy, Stoke).