Will the cost of the bus be covered by RHET?
Your Project Coordinator may be able to provide assistance towards the cost of a bus to the farm (we have limited funds for each of the 12 RHET countryside initiative areas so please check with your local project coordinator).
Does the farm visit cost money?
No. RHET provides free farm visits!
Who will book the bus?
The teacher organising the visit should book the bus.
Why do teachers have to visit the farm before the trip (pre-visit)?
A pre-visit will be arranged between the teacher, the Project Coordinator and the farmer to discuss the format of the visit and to walk the route that the children will take on the day. This is an opportunity for any questions to be asked and for all Health & Safety aspects to be covered, including the completion of the compulsory risk-assessment which RHET produces. It will take approximately 1 hour.
How long is the farm visit likely to last?
The visit will take between an hour and half to two hours, depending on host availability, the age of the children and weather!
Will we be able to feed the animals?
Not always, this could be discussed at the pre-visit. There may be the opportunity to touch the animals, but this is at the end of the visit and only if the farmer permits the pupils to do so. Hands must be washed immediately afterward.
Can we eat our snack/lunch at the farm?
No. However, a limited number of our farms have facilities suitable for children to eat their snack/lunch such as a farm shop or cafe. Again, this can be discussed at the pre-visit.
What is the maximum number of pupils to take part in a visit?
Approximately 30. Large groups may find it difficult to see/hear during the visit, smaller groups are recommended to allow the pupils enjoy the experience. Although please discuss how we can accommodate larger groups with your Project Coordinator.
Are pupils permitted to wear gloves during visits in colder months?
We would prefer you not too! We can check hands are washed properly, but not gloves. If gloves are worn on very cold days, they must be removed at the end of the visit and not worn again until they have been washed. Some teachers issue small bags for the pupils to put their gloves in before washing their hands and hold onto them until the end of the school day.
Will there be toilet facilities on the farm?
Yes. There will be toilet facilities and areas to wash hands afterwards. This may be within the farm house, however it would be preferred if pupils used the toilet facilities before leaving school.
What clothing/footwear is required on the farm?
Dress for the weather; sun cream and sun hat, a waterproof/windproof jacket and a warm jumper(s), hats, scarves etc. Wellies are best or footwear that covers their full foot like boots (those they don’t mind getting mucky). No open toed shoes.
Does RHET provide wellies?
Check with your local coordinator who may have a limited supply of wellies for pupils to borrow. (Not all areas can provide wellies).
Will a risk assessment be provided?
Yes. Every farm has been risk assessed and there will be a chance to go through this at the pre-visit with the Project Coordinator and the farmer. A signed copy will be kept by the school and all accompanying staff/adults should read the document prior to the visit.
Who is responsible for discipline on the visit?
The teachers/adults/chaperones from the school are responsible for the discipline on the visit. Famers and RHET staff are not responsible for the discipline of the pupils in anyway.
How do you choose the farm to visit?
We choose a farm based on location suitability and the type of farm in relation to the learning outcomes of the school. Farm hosts are all volunteers with busy businesses to run so selection may also be narrowed down by availability of farmers on the dates requested by schools.
Who provides insurance?
RHET is covered by public liability insurance. Schools must comply with their local area authority guidelines and farm hosts inform their insurance provider when a school party will be on farm.
Should the pupils wear school uniform or high visibility vests?
It is up to the school whether or not to wear uniform. Trousers are advised. Remember any clothes may get mucky. Hi vis vests are useful, not just for the farm host and teachers to keep an eye on the children, but they also may create a greater awareness of safety amongst the pupils.
Who will be responsible for first aid?
The school is responsible for its own first aid, ensuring any medication is brought on the visit (epi pens, inhalers etc).
What ratio of adults:pupils is required?
We recommend schools adhere to their local area authority guidelines on adult:pupil ratio for out of school excursions.
Can photos be taken on the visit?
Yes, photos are usually permitted on farm visits. This will be confirmed at the pre-visit with the farm host. When the school sends in the booking form, it also notes whether RHET can take pictures of the children and for what use.
How can I be sure it will meet my learning outcomes?
After discussing the learning outcomes with the Project Coordinator they will choose a suitable farm which covers the various aspects of these. This can also be brought up at the pre-visit with the farmer.
Does RHET pay the farmers to host the visit?
No. All of our farmers are volunteers who give up time in their busy schedule to host a visit. They do however appreciate the many thank you letters that pupils send, saying how much they enjoyed the visit, and the children taking the time to say “thank you” at the end of the visit.
Is the classroom visit itself free?
Yes. Classroom speaker visits are free!
How long will the volunteer speak for?
Usually half an hour for primary age children and can be up to an hour with secondary age children. Discuss this with your coordinator or volunteer speaker prior to their arrival.
Will the speaker bring animals with them to the school?
In the Royal Northern Area (Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire, Moray), Angus or the Scottish Borders the Countryside Classroom on Wheels may be requested and animals may be on the trailer.
Some volunteer speakers may bring a lamb (seasonal) or indeed a chicken into school but this is limited by availability, logistics and ensuring the welfare of the animal is not compromised. A risk assessment would be carried out prior to the visit.
What is the maximum group size of pupils for a session?
This is dependent on the age of the pupils. Generally, the younger the pupils, the smaller the group. It will be the speakers’ preference as to how many children are included in a session, please speak to them prior to their arrival. Please ensure pupil numbers on the day are the same as agreed (no surprise classes or whole school).
What facilities will the speaker require?
The speaker sometimes requires a whiteboard/projector, a laptop/computer and space to use a USB stick and/or a CD ROM to provide a power point presentation. If they are bringing props, please consider ease of access and providing assistance for carrying props from the vehicle to classroom. However, again, please discuss this with your Project Coordinator/volunteer speaker as they will have their own requirements.
Can I leave the speaker unattended?
No. A teacher must be present during these sessions. Not only will this ensure discipline is maintained but the session will benefit the teacher too.
How much notice should I give my project coordinator for organising a visit or a talk?
11 out of our 12 Project Coordinators work part time and so allowing at least 6 week’s notice to organise a farm visit or a classroom talk is essential. Furthermore, all of our farm hosts and speakers are volunteers and so scheduling a date must suit around their availability. And of course for farmers, there are busier times of the year than others!