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A Day in the Field: Year 9 at the Royal Cheshire County Show 2024

The morning air was buzzing with excitement as the Year 9 pupils of St Christopher's CE High School gathered in their form rooms for registration. At a little after 9am, they boarded the buses that would take them to the Royal Cheshire County Show, an event eagerly anticipated for weeks. Teachers conducted a quick headcount before the convoy of buses rolled away from the school grounds, carrying the pupils away on a trip through the rolling English countryside.

The journey was filled with chatter and laughter, with students speculating about the day's adventures. Around 10:30am, the buses pulled into the car park of the showgrounds. The pupils disembarked, their eyes wide with wonder at the bustling scene before them. Colourful tents, bustling stalls, and the sounds of livestock greeted them as they stepped into the vibrant world of the Royal Cheshire County Show.

After a brief orientation from their teachers, the pupils were allowed to explore the show in small groups. They eagerly set off, some heading straight for the animal exhibits, while others made a beeline for the funfair, food stalls and craft displays. The show was a treasure trove of learning and fun, offering everything from sheep shearing demonstrations to tractor rides.

"So, the Cheshire Show might seem like an event for old farmers. But, if you were actually to go you would realise that it isn't as boring as you might of first thought. When I went, I found it fun and exciting. They presented the farming side in a fun and inclusive way letting you feed and stroke some of the animals. They had a whole section of vehicles both farming and civilian it would be impossible not to spend almost half an hour looking at them all."
Year 9 pupil

As the clock struck 1pm, the first of the Year 9 pupils reconvened at the designated meeting point. They were then ushered along to the Agri-Centre where a special 15 minute Q&A session was to be held. Pupils took their seats on the ground, their notebooks and pens ready. The panel of farmers awaited them, each an expert in their field: Cheryl and Andrew Reeves from Agri-cation, Olly Harrison of OllyBlogs fame, and Kelly Seaton of Seaton Farms. The session was introduced by Kelly Pallas from LEAF (Linking Environment and Farming). A further six forms followed each with different and probing questions.

Kelly Pallas opened the sessions with a warm welcome, explaining the importance of farming and the role of LEAF in promoting sustainable agricultural practices. Then, the floor was opened to the pupils, who had prepared a series of thoughtful questions in advance.

First up was a question about sustainable farming practices. Cheryl Reeves explained how Agri-cation incorporates educational programs to teach young people about the importance of sustainability. Andrew Reeves added insights on calf rearing and how engineering helps, emphasizing the need to balance productivity with environmental stewardship.

Olly Harrison fielded a question about the impact of social media on farming. He spoke passionately about how his OllyBlogs channel has helped bridge the gap between farmers and the public, showcasing the realities of farm life and promoting transparency in agriculture. His enthusiasm was infectious, and the pupils scribbled notes furiously.

Kelly Seaton answered questions about the challenges facing modern farmers, such as climate change and market pressures. She shared personal anecdotes from Seaton Farms, offering a candid look at the highs and lows of farming life. The pupils appreciated her honesty and gained valuable insights for their science projects.

Each session concluded with a round of applause from the pupils, who were inspired by the farmers' dedication and knowledge. They thanked the panellists, who in turn commended the pupils for their intelligent questions and keen interest in farming.

"Going to the Cheshire Show was a great experience with many activities. There were lots to see and do. We went to see lots of animals and see what was going on around the show. The Cheshire Show also gave us an opportunity to learn about the life of the farmers and how they live their lives. It gave many people a chance to gain knowledge on how to get into farming. Overall, it was a great experience to have in school and a fabulous opportunity to take"
Year 9 pupil

With the Q&A session over, the pupils had another hour and a half to explore the show. They visited more exhibits, took part in interactive activities, and even tried their hand at milking cows and making butter. The fine weather only added to the day's enjoyment, with the sun finally shining brightly over the showgrounds.

As the day drew to a close, the pupils reluctantly made their way back to the buses. Their heads were filled with new knowledge and their hearts with fond memories of the day's adventures. The journey back to St Christopher's was quieter, with many pupils reflecting on what they had learned and experienced.

Shortly after 6pm, the buses arrived outside the school grounds. Tired but happy, the pupils disembarked, ready to share their stories with their families. The visit to the Royal Cheshire County Show had been a resounding success, offering a perfect blend of education and fun. It was a day that the Year 9 pupils of St Christopher's CE High School would remember for a long time.

Mr Gerrard had this to say about the trip…

"I am very thankful to the Katy Pallas and Rob Davenport for providing us with a bursary each year to visit the Royal Cheshire Show. The build up to the Cheshire Show included a Careers session with Katy Pallas regarding careers in the farming and food industry. We were delighted we could follow this wonderful session up with a quality question and answering session on the day at the Cheshire Show.

We have several individuals in our school community who have farming backgrounds or are involved in farming. It was a great opportunity to raise the profile of farming for them and the industry across the school. We have discussed sustainable food choices and hopefully we now have a host of ethical consumers. We discussed the role of AI too and the 'learn it all' mindset that is required to keep up with modern technology that is involved in their future careers."

You can vie more of the photos over on our Facebook page here.