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The Bath Chronicle: Schools minister visits Jamie’s Farm

Minister of State for Schools and Westcountry MP David Laws has paid a visit to a local charity that caters for vulnerable children at risk of exclusion from school.

Jamie’s Farm in Box, which Mr Laws visited last Thursday, offers inner-city pupils at risk of exclusion the opportunity to live and work in a beautiful and supportive rural environment.

Last year, 60 per cent of those who were at risk of exclusion before their visit were no longer at risk six weeks later. Ninety-five per cent of schools recognise the benefit to their pupils by bringing groups to the Farm each year.

Jamie’s Farm is funded through the Government’s pupil premium: extra school funding mainly for young people registered for free school meals at any time in the last six years.

Mr Laws said: “We introduced the pupil premium so that all children are able to enjoy the same opportunities and experiences, regardless of their circumstances.

“Jamie’s Farm is an excellent example of the kind of provision that schools now have better access to. Visiting the farm I have seen first-hand the impact it can have on the young people involved, allowing them to develop their skills and confidence, and encouraging them to achieve their full potential.”

To meet growing demand, Jamie’s Farm has bought another farm in Herefordshire to reach more children, mainly from Bristol and the midlands.

It hopes to work with 3000 pupils a year by 2020, over five farm locations.

Jamie’s Farm was set up in 2009 by former teacher Jamie Feilden, who spent his formative years in Warleigh, near Bath.