Iconic school farm in Biggleswade is to close its doors

It’s the end of an era after a Biggleswade school announced today it is to close its farm.

The Stratton Education Trust has announced it will close the farm at Stratton Upper School on July 19, at the end of the summer term.

Farm animals at Stratton Upper School in Biggleswade.

Farm animals at Stratton Upper School in Biggleswade.

In a letter, Chairman of Governors Madeline Russell said the costs of running the farm had increased while students choosing agricultural courses had declined.

The welfare of the animals was now a priority.

She said: “The farm has been a unique and valued part of the school curriculum since 1955 when many Stratton students would regularly enter farming and associated industries after leaving school.

“In recent years, the number of students choosing agricultural courses as an option has declined significantly at a time when the costs of running the farm and keeping the animals have been increasing. In addition, there are very few students leaving Stratton to pursue careers related to agriculture and we must ensure that the school’s limited funding and resources are targeted at a curriculum that is fit for the aspirations of young people today.

“All academies are required to review their curriculum offer regularly to ensure that there is proper progression for students towards their desired destinations and that the limited financial resources are used efficiently to deliver the intended curriculum. In light of this, it is no longer viable for the school to support the costs of running the farm and a recent Condition Survey has shown that we will need to spend upwards of £0.5m to bring the facilities and buildings up to an acceptable level.

“Please be assured that the welfare of our animals is a priority and we are ensuring that they are moved to animal sanctuaries or other farms where they will be well cared for.

“We are grateful for the significant support the farm has received from the wider community over many years and understand that there will be considerable disappointment locally, although we have seen a decline in the sales of meat and other produce in more recent times. Nevertheless, it is the end of an era and the closure is a blow to those of us who have known the farm for a very long time.