Merrist Wood College 

The college’s 400-acre estate features woodlands, wetlands, livestock, gardens and grasslands, as well as a specialist animal management centre. The College’s rare breeds conservation programme supports Portland sheep, Wensleydale sheep, Oxford Sandy & Black pigs, Golden Guernsey goats and rare breeds of poultry.
Luke Gates, Head of Animal Collections at Merrist Wood said: “The RBST is an organisation that we have been passionate about supporting for many years with our first rare breeds arriving at Merrist Wood in 2000. Over the last 7 years we have been serious about developing our rare breeds for teaching and learning and supporting the RBST. We now have ten different breeds who are in need of protection due to low numbers. Many people know about giant pandas and various rhino species needing conservation support, but many of our own native livestock breeds are actually more rare.”

Charlie Dodd, Farm Manager at Merrist Wood added: “This year the RBST is running a campaign called Love a Longwool which is what really spurred us on to become RBST accredited this year. To become the first ever Education Facility rare breeds farm under their new framework is fantastic news for the Activate Learning group. We have just scanned our rare breeds sheep and are excited to announce all are pregnant and with the help of the RBST we look forward to do our part in conserving these breeds.”

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Tom's Farm Nightingale Academy

Tom’s Farm is home to a number of ‘Priority’ and ‘At Risk’ rare breeds including Border Leicester sheep, Derbyshire Gritstone sheep, Oxford Sandy & Black pigs, Golden Guernsey goats, Bagot goats, and Norfolk Black turkeys. Other native breeds cared for at the farm include Shetland ponies, Welsh ponies, Shetland sheep and Southdown sheep. Tom’s Farm works with other school farms and rare breed farm parks including Jimmy’s Farm and Hadleigh Farm, and it is currently running a UK-wide breeding and education programme supporting rare breed Oxford Sandy and Black pigs.

  • Tom’s Farm is a field to fork experience for students, parents, staff and the wider community aimed at reconnecting people with farming and the origins of their food.
  • Based predominately in schools and educational facilities we have developed a tried and tested curriculum aimed at achieving accredited qualifications in Horticulture, Land Based studies and Animal Care through KS1-5. Our current offer is designed to drive the students to completing a challenging, yet achievable qualification supported with a holistic and deep understanding of the course.
  • Twinned with education comes our mission for conservation of rare and native breeds of livestock that we use as both a tool for our qualifications and as an incredible therapy resource aimed at allowing young people moments of reflection and resetting whilst developing the ever-important skills of care and empathy.
  • Nightingale Community Academy is part of a wider trust known as Orchard Hill College and Academy Trust. Since the College was established in 1983 it has grown from a small hospital provision into an Outstanding College that operates from six college centres and provides post-16 education for students with moderate, complex and profound learning needs.

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Capel Manor College

Capel Manor College, London’s only specialist environmental college. Capel Manor College offers a wide variety of land-based education including agriculture, animal care, horticulture and countryside management. Agricultural courses are based at the College’s certified organic Forty Hall Farm in Enfield, which houses a variety of priority and at risk rare breed livestock including Lincoln Longwool sheep, Norfolk Horn sheep, Boreray sheep, Manx Loaghtan sheep, Berkshire pigs, Tamworth pigs and Oxford Sandy and Black pigs. It also has a herd of Red Poll cattle, a native breed which used to be rare but whose numbers have increased.

As well as livestock, Forty Hall Farm has a market garden producing 200 veg boxes a week for the residents of Enfield, the only commercial vineyard in London, a farm shop and a monthly farmers’ market.  Students gain hands-on experience, and the rare breed livestock helps deliver wider education benefits when Forty Hill Farm is open to the public at weekends.

The varied grazing at Forty Hill Farm lends itself well to native breeds. As well as grazing its own land, the college is involved in a number of conservation grazing projects, including one for the Hertfordshire and Middlesex Wildlife Trust where rare breed pigs are used in the management of vegetation at a nature reserve near Ware, helping create the ideal environment for wading birds. The College’s native Red Poll cattle have been grazed on a nature reserve in Essex to help improve land that was overgrown, and the College’s rare breed sheep graze the College’s vineyard during the winter, where machinery would be too intrusive.

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White Rocks Farm College

White Rocks Farm College is a small specialist centre offering vocational BTEC courses for students who have additional educational needs. They are a specialist 16+ Vocational College, with a 19+ unit for students who are not yet ready for work.

The College is set in an idyllic location just outside Sevenoaks,where it is nestled into a wooded hillside on the Greensand Ridge, providing breathtaking views across the Weald of Kent.  It is run by Sue Woods who has who has been working with horses, dogs & many other animals for over 30 years. White Rocks Farm College was founded in 2009 and has grown and developed each year. They specialise in taking students who struggle in the conventional education system. 

The majority of the animals at White Rocks Farm started their career as film animals but are now invaluable in helping to teach our students animal care. 
White Rocks College have a vast selection of animals including poultry, farm animals (such as pigs and cows) and of course the smalls which include our trained film/therapy cats and dogs. They are BHS approved and run the only RDA western riding group in the UK. Our Junior Club is Clubmark Accredited. We also do carriage driving and horse logging. Students are taught in our professional yard and work with a variety of horses and ponies including competition horses, youngstock, driving ponies, and logging horses plus our therapy horses. There are opportunities for some students to ride and drive as part of their course. 
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