Best day in the school calendar

Around 1,200 primary five children from across the Borders attended the Borders Union Agricultural Society Countryside Day at the Borders Event Centre on Tuesday (May 16).
Pupils, and Councillor Carol Hamilton, get up close and personal with a wee lamb. Photos: SBC.Pupils, and Councillor Carol Hamilton, get up close and personal with a wee lamb. Photos: SBC.
Pupils, and Councillor Carol Hamilton, get up close and personal with a wee lamb. Photos: SBC.

The annual event gives children the opportunity to learn about farming, food production and other aspects of rural life.

Staff and council members from Scottish Borders Council including chief executive David Robertson, director of education and life long learning Lesley Munro, and executive member for developing children and young people Carol Hamilton, met the children from across the region and took part in activities which some of the children and adults had never previously experienced.

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Councillor Leagh Douglas, Scottish Borders Council’s executive member for education and life long learning, said: “This was an absolutely fabulous event where children had the opportunity to have hands-on experience of a number of rural activities.

An encounter with a large tractor tyre!An encounter with a large tractor tyre!
An encounter with a large tractor tyre!

“There was a huge range of activities which the children could explore and perhaps think about as a career, it’s never too early to engage with young minds and spike their interest.

“The event also highlighted how technology plays a huge role in farming and food production as well as many other areas. Digital technology is something Scottish Borders Council have embedded in education through Inspire Learning, it’s good for children to see how what they learn in the classroom plays out in the real world, and in an industry that surrounds them in their rural communities in the Borders.”

Kitty and Eddie, both 9-years-old, from Duns Primary enjoyed their day at the school event, seeing animals close up to making paper, learning about water filtration and how important trees are to the environment, why we need bugs, learning how to make fishing flies and being outdoors were some of their ‘favourite’ activities.

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Many teachers from across the region said how much the children looked forward to the Schools Countryside Day, it was the gift that kept giving as the children took so much away from it, and it fed in to so many educational projects throughout the year – they only wished they could stay longer as there was so much to take in.

Dan Withall, Executive Director Border Union Agricultural Society said: “The Countryside Day is now in its 10th year, this year another 1200 primary five children have the opportunity to experience the width and breadth of farming. We want this event to inspire young people, show them where their food comes from, how it’s produced and how they fit into their community.

“By experiencing the different areas within the rural economy we hope they will see there are valuable career opportunities. We want this day to be a single point of inspiration, to show children what happens in farming and how that feeds into the circular economy in the Border Region.

“We very much appreciate the great support from SBC helping with the sustainability of the event and collaboration with stakeholders. It really is such a valuable day for our sponsors, by far ‘the best day in their calendars’ we’re told; we have over 50 repeat exhibitors with some in their 10th year who say how well the Countryside Day works for them, and we know the schools find it invaluable.

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“We look forward to seeing today’s primary fives in future farming careers, and doing it all again in 2024.”

Schools Countryside Day is respected as a significant regional example of best practise, made possible by the remarkable culmination of support from 300 volunteers and 50 exhibitors who all give so much to make it work.

The event also benefits from local support from BASF, Charity begins at home (CBAH) Grahams Family Dairy, Kelso Farmers Market and Sainsbury’s, an indication of how they see this as a positive example of how important the event is to the Borders.