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Suffolk Show 2017: Acton Primary School named as Farming School of the Year

PUBLISHED: 15:43 01 June 2017 | UPDATED: 16:59 01 June 2017

Acton Primary School performing in the Farming School of the Year competition. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Acton Primary School performing in the Farming School of the Year competition. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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A Mastermind competition and a song about tractors saw Acton Primary School steal first place in the Farming School of the Year award at the Suffolk Show today.

Pupils from Saxmundham Primary School competing for the title of Farming School of the Year at the Suffolk Show. Picture :SARAH LUCY BROWN Pupils from Saxmundham Primary School competing for the title of Farming School of the Year at the Suffolk Show. Picture :SARAH LUCY BROWN

The final saw Acton, Bawdsey and Saxmundham primary schools go head to head for the award, with each school creating a performance about what they had learnt about farming over the past few weeks.

Saxmundham Primary’s performance included a poem about John Dere tractors, the process of creating rapeseed oil and a history of tractor development, while Bawdsey Primary predicted the future of farming by portraying a farmer in his dressing gown controlling his machinery from an iPad.

But it was Acton Primary’s tractor-themed performance of Mastermind that won the judging panel over.

Robert Rous, chairman of the Suffolk Agricultural Association (SAA), said: “They were absolutely brilliant. We had a very difficult job.

“It was a very close run, but Acton just had the edge.

“It was lovely to see their enthusiasm and how much they had learnt from the experience.”

Acton Primary School performing in the Farming School of the Year competition. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN Acton Primary School performing in the Farming School of the Year competition. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The theme this year was machinery, and the competition consisted of three rounds.

Children were first tasked with building a model tractor using recyclable materials, from which the top five schools were selected to attend a learning day at Trinity Park to discover more about food and farming.

Bruce Kerr, senior steward for the farming discovery zone at the Suffolk Show, said the award helped to build an important link between local schools and the farming industry.

Bawdsey Primary School pupils performing in the Farming School of the Year competition. Picture: ELLIS BARKER Bawdsey Primary School pupils performing in the Farming School of the Year competition. Picture: ELLIS BARKER

“We want children, not just in Suffolk but everywhere, to understand where their food comes from and understand how it’s made and learn a little bit more about what they buy in the supermarkets.

“One of our key charitable objectives [of the SAA] is to educate and that education isn’t just about farmers learning about farming and coming and looking at machinery at the show. It’s actually also about taking children onto farms and farms into schools.

“We take tractors into schools every February and we have a number of schools engaged with that, and farmers as well.

Acton Primary School pupils performing on stage for the Farming School of the Year competition. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN Acton Primary School pupils performing on stage for the Farming School of the Year competition. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

“Of course, all the boys love a tractor. There’s something that boys love about playing with tractors. But when we actually sit there with the tractor, the girls...everybody wants to understand what they do.”

Acton Primary’s team comprised Year 3 pupils Jamie Rose, Violet Peddel, Betsy Mangion, Sophie Dykes and Belle Bush.

Speaking afterwards, Violet said: “When we were told that we won I got really excited.”

Acton Primary School pupils, from left: Violet Peddel, Jamie Rose, Betsy Mangion, Sophie Dykes and Belle Bush with judge Baroness Byford. Picture: ELLIS BARKER Acton Primary School pupils, from left: Violet Peddel, Jamie Rose, Betsy Mangion, Sophie Dykes and Belle Bush with judge Baroness Byford. Picture: ELLIS BARKER

Betsy added: “I thought it was really good. Our game show was really good.”

Pupils from schools years three to six were able to take part.

Year 3 teacher at Acton Primary School, Daisy Underwood, said: “We really enjoyed the whole process.

Saxmundham  Primary School pupils performing for the title of Farming School of the Year.
Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN Saxmundham Primary School pupils performing for the title of Farming School of the Year. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

“They loved the day out. It’s taught us lots about farming and lots of new facts we didn’t know before.

“Living in Acton we are used to an agricultural environment. It’s important for them to find out what goes on.

“I’m really proud. They have worked really hard.”

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