Settle Farmventors strike again

Settle Primary School pupils sitting in their classroom with Selkie the dog on the table modelling the class's wool dog coat design

Pupils at Settle Primary School in the Yorkshire Dales have once again been named the region’s top Farmventors having got through to the national showcase event for the second year in a row.

Last year, the school was picked out for its Year 1 design for a tractor of the future. But this year it will be Year 5 pupils heading to Westminster in March with their design for an environmentally friendly dog coat using a recycled outer layer protecting a hand-felted lining of Swaledale sheep’s wool.

The Farmvention competition, which invites schools to solve real-life farming challenges as part of their STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) curriculum is proving a popular way of bringing STEM subjects to life.

This is a view echoed by teacher Sarah Entwistle who is very enthusiastic about bringing farming into the classroom.

“This year we were inspired by all the hill sheep in the fields around us,” she said. “One of this year’s categories was all about wool as a ‘wonder fabric’ and of course we have that in abundance right on our doorstep.”

The project involved exploring the concept from start to finish – washing, felting and testing wool from different sheep before settling on the Swaledale.

“As well as wanting home-grown wool, the children liked the Swaledale fleece as it was hard-wearing as well as being warm,” added Sarah.

“When combined with recycled, waterproof tent sheeting, they felt it created the perfect warm and weather resistant coat for my dog, Selkie.”

The judges were so impressed with the school’s entry – presented in a very professional video – that they had no hesitation in putting the project through to the showcase finale this summer.

As a regional winner, the school will also have the chance for a fully funded farm visit and have asked to visit the farm that kindly donated wool for their project.

NFU education manager, Jennie Devine, said: “We were so impressed with how much work the students had put into the project. The children had experienced the entire product development process and enjoyed so many engaging STEM opportunities along the way.”

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