Every year nearly 10,000 children are excluded from school. Exclusion costs £650 million a year and is inextricably linked to youth offending; which further costs the UK £1bn annually. Furthermore, every year 5% of young people leave school with no qualifications. It has recently been acknowledged that improving soft skills and non-cognitive attributes, alongside academic achievement, are essential for employability and reducing exclusion rates in schools.
Jamie’s Farm transforms the lives of vulnerable children, between the ages of 11–16 and from inner city schools, through a unique combination of ‘family, farming and therapy’ during an intensive week-long residential living and working on a farm. Children receive support in 1:1 and group settings and are involved in all aspects of farm life from lambing to gardening, log chopping to cooking. In order to ensure changes last, we provide a robust follow-up programme with schools and training for visiting staff.
Given the demand for our provision we now have sites in both Wiltshire and Herefordshire. We have also developed an urban farm in Waterloo, London, in partnership with Oasis Community Hub. This will enable us to further sustain and deepen our impact on our most at-risk Jamie’s Farmers, even when they return home.
Through our approach Jamie’s Farm provides a preventative solution to a national problem – the number of children permanently excluded from education and the long term cost of this to society and themselves.