A redevelopment of Kingshill Farm part of Shuttleworth College, will support curriculum change to deliver the T Levels in Agriculture, Environmental and Animal Care.
The funds come, in part, from Government T Level grants and from The Bedford College Group, of which Shuttleworth College is a part. The money will provide high-quality teaching accommodation and fit-for-purpose facilities which will in turn provide an inspiring environment for students at the Old Warden Park setting.
The site currently provides an educational setting for students who are involved in all aspects of farm and habitat management. This plays an important role in developing skills with both arable and livestock enterprises and providing a wider understanding of land management.
Developing skills and sustainability
This investment will enable effective utilisation of new and emerging technologies, providing workshop and classroom space for effective delivery of T Level qualifications.
Kingshill Farm will provide the focus for the occupational specialisms of crop production, livestock production, and habitat management (land and water) as well as providing access to livestock to enhance the experience of the animal management T Level students.
The strong focus on sustainability and the use of regenerative farming methods provide an excellent resource for the delivery of the core knowledge and understanding required in the T Levels. This aligns with the current sector focus on improving the environment, reducing carbon emissions and improving animal health and welfare.
The farm development will include innovative and advanced technology available to farmers and growers at the forefront of the sector (e.g. GPS/Satellite imagery, robotics, drones). These new facilities will promote an industry and employment-centred ethic to stimulate and inspire students and industry representatives in current and novel technologies. This also includes the use of technologies in breeding, rearing and managing livestock to optimise welfare and production.
Shuttleworth College occupies the campus on a long lease from the Richard Ormonde Shuttleworth Remembrance Trust (The Shuttleworth Trust). Set up in 1944, the charity’s sole focus is on providing accommodation and framework for education and training in agriculture.
A growing curriculum
This new T Level provision enhances the Group’s current curriculum at Level 3 across the majority of the land-based subject areas.
Courses are currently offered in equine, animal management, agriculture, horticulture, fisheries, countryside management and floristry. The T Levels are a natural development of the curriculum in these areas with agriculture now being split into crops and livestock specialisms, and countryside management and fisheries now combined under the habitat management (land and water) specialism.
All Level 3 students on land-based programmes undertake a work experience placement as part of their course and it is anticipated that these employers will continue to work with us in the delivery of T Level placements. This is across all the occupational specialisms in this T Level route ranging from zoos and wildlife parks, to garden centres and florists. Employer forums are taking place to promote the benefits of industry placements and provide information on the T Levels.
Developing Kingshill Farm will provide a focus for productive relationships and collaboration with the agricultural societies, companies and employers all of whom may want to offer placements. These relationships and expertise will enrich the delivery of T Levels.
In addition, the wider college will benefit from the development, there will be improvement in the learner experience and access to progressive industry engagement.