Background & Facilities
- 10.12 hectares of land were purchased by Roscommon Vocational Committee in the late 1960’s. A site for the present school was taken out of this land in 1985 which was 0.92ha approx.
- Location – Ardnanagh, Roscommon
- Livestock usually consists of 10/20 bullocks and 20/40 breeding ewes (subject to markets and mortality).
- The cattle are sent for slaughter or sold during the summer.
- The ewes are mated during September/October for lambing in February. Lambs are sold in July.
- Animal housing on the farm consists of a four bay shed, two of which are slatted for cattle, the other two bays have straw bedding for sheep and accommodates the sheep during the winter and at lambing.
- The farmyard contains a crush with skulling gate for handling cattle as well as weighing scales (used for Agricultural Science projects).
- There are also sheep handling facilities including a crush, a race, a dipping tub and footbath.
- There is a storage shed.
- Bird Sanctuary
- Bee Hives (x2)
- Hen Coop and Run
- Wooded Area/ Natural Habitat/ Bird Boxes
- Raised Beds
The farm has multiple uses. These are academic, social and community based.
- The college offers agricultural science at senior level. 25% of the overall mark is for practical work. These are presented as port folios of work and all these port folios are produced using farm facilities. These include projects on sheep, genetics, cattle, grassland, potatoes, habitat and farm layout.
- The farm is the basis for a number of science projects at junior level. All the students in the school use this facility between first and third year.
- Fetac Level 1 and 2. This enables our less academic students to achieve national certification by engaging in a horticultural course. This again uses the facilities as outlined above.
- Business Enterprise – cross-curricular initiatives where a wide range of academic and practical subjects focus on entrepreneurism in the form of business schemes for students where they learn how to formulate business plans, run the businesses successfully and develop accounting and marketing skills . At present these initiatives are linked in with the Youth Farm where an egg and honey business is being run.
- BT Young Scientist Awards. This is a science based competition. Our students use the farm facilities to develop proposals for these awards.
- The farm facilities are used to education students in food production (from farm to table projects) in Home Economics and the poly tunnel is used as a means of informing students of healthy eating options and nutritional schemes.
- Green Schools – Bio-diversity especially in the light of the growth of popularity in the agricultural sector.
- The farm is a focus for all students. Over any academic year a number of initiatives are run using the farm facilities. These include developing a whole school approach to a safe and clean environment, protecting habitats, working as teams in terms of developing projects such as cultivating flower beds (SPHE), sowing potatoes, wild flower gardens and vegetable growing which the students have to tend – this creates a sense of sustainability in the student and focuses on medium to long term inputs and self-discipline.
- The farm environs create a sense of ownership and pride in terms of the students. They take responsibility for how the school looks and this affects their views on their school and ultimately their time in the school. We try to create a positive atmosphere where students can take ownership of their school- the farm helps us tremendously in this respects especially as the majority of our students are from rural/farming backgrounds.
- Best educational practice dictates that a school should be at the heart of its community. Our school follows this practice by facilitating the community in their organic garden initiative. The community use the farm facilities to grow vegetables and flowers.
- The community engage with our students in a reciprocal learning environment – the organic component married with our students working with them on technology initiatives.