Press release

Date: 13 May 2021


Urban Farm in Wandsworth Awarded New Rare Breeds Survival Trust Education Accreditation


Rare Breeds Survival Trust (RBST) has awarded its new RBST Education Accreditation to Tom’s Farm at Nightingale Community Academy in Wandsworth, London. The award recognises the important contribution of the urban farm to the conservation of some the rarest livestock and equine breeds native to the UK, as well as the farm’s excellence in educating young people about the UK’s rare native breeds.


Tom's Farm is a field-to-fork educational experience for students, parents, staff and the wider community aimed at reconnecting people with farming and the origins of their food. It is part of Nightingale Community Academy, a school for boys aged 5-19 with social, emotional and mental health needs, and Tom’s Farm also works with a variety of schools in the community. The farm utilises its work to support the conservation of rare and native breeds of livestock both as a tool for land-based and animal care qualifications as well as a therapy resource for young people. Opened in 2009, it is named Tom's Farm in memory of Tom ap Rhys Pryce.


RBST is the national charity that works to secure the future of rare breeds of native livestock and equines. The survival of these rare breeds matters because they have an important role to play in a sustainable future for farming where food production works in harmony with the environment; they make a major contribution to our rural economy; their genetics are important for future disease resistance and food security; and they are an irreplaceable part of our national heritage.


Tom’s Farm now becomes part of the 26-strong network of RBST accredited centres which take part in crucial conservation programmes, manage special breeding groups, and support education about rare breeds and why they matter. The first ever RBST Education Accreditation was awarded in November 2020, Tom’s Farm is the second educational establishment to receive the award.


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.


RBST Chief Executive Christopher Price said: “Tom’s Farm is doing important and valuable work to support the survival of some of the UK’s rarest breeds of native livestock. It is a shining example of how education centred on rare breed animals can bring multiple benefits for people and communities in tandem with these breeds’ conservation. I am delighted that Tom’s Farm is awarded our new Education Accreditation and I look forward to working with the team as the farm joins the network of RBST accredited rare breed centres.”


Joshua Farrell, Farm Manager at Tom’s Farm, said: “Directing a project such as Tom’s Farm is nothing but a privilege. Moving in to my fourth year I have seen so much development and progression and it’s wonderful to see the day-to-day impact it has for not only our students at Nightingale Community Academy, but the young people from schools all over London. Education and Conservation are at the centre of our focus and I’m incredibly proud of our new affinity with Rare Breeds Survival Trust. Since a young age I have always been passionate about our rare and native breeds and I was adamant that Tom’s Farm should host a variety of animals that needed our support. Tom’s Farm now keeps over 600 different animals across multiple sites and it feels as if the work we are doing can have a real impact on the critical numbers we see in our heritage breeds. The greatest success has been the enthusiasm for rare and native breeds developed in our young animal care students, that no doubt will move on with them in their future careers.”


Notes to editors:


Further information about the network of RBST-accredited centres

  • The 26 RBST Accredited Farm Parks network includes a variety of organisations - large and small; charities, local authority-run and private; countryside farm parks and urban city farms, and also education establishments and heritage centres.
  • Between them, they look after some of the rarest breeds of cows, pigs, sheep, goats, horses, ponies and poultry in the UK.
  • Some of these breeds, loved and cherished by our ancestors for centuries, are at a critical status. The RBST accredited network is a vital part of ensuring these breeds’ survival for the future.
  • They are also a fantastic ‘shop window’ for native breeds, providing education about rare breeds, their care and why their survival matters as well as encouraging hundreds of thousands of visitors every year to take an interest in their future.
  • Find out more at


The rare breeds at Tom’s Farm

  • Oxford Sandy & Black pigs, Derbyshire Gritstone sheep, Border Leicester sheep, Golden Guernsey goats and Bagot goats are all categorised as At Risk on the RBST Watchlist, and Norfolk Black turkeys are categorised as a Priority breed -


For more information, interviews and photographs regarding RBST, please contact Isobel Davidson on [email protected] or 07725 470917


About Tom’s Farm


  • 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.


For Tom’s Farm press enquiries, please contact:

Alice Irvine, Orchard Hill College and Academy Trust, [email protected]