New, dedicated Farm Safe Schools pilot programme aims to kickstart farm safety conversations in classrooms nationwide
Agri Aware, AgriKids and the Irish Farmers Association (IFA), supported by FBD Trust have teamed up to bring the Farm Safe Schools pilot programme to Irish classrooms. The first of its kind, collaborative, pilot programme aims to engage, educate and empower Irish children to become farm safety ambassadors and in doing so help create a safer, brighter future on Irish farms.
According to the Health and Safety Authority, 23 children have died on Irish farms over the last decade as a result of farm accidents. The Farm Safe Schools team are calling on Irish primary school teachers to sign up to this innovative programme, which will provide children with key knowledge and skills that could save lives and kick start conversations within classrooms and Irish homes nationwide.
Co-developed by Agri Aware, AgriKids and IFA, The Farm Safe Schools programme has the potential to bring a dedicated farm safety education platform to every school in Ireland.
The interactive educational programme is designed to assist teachers in educating their students about the potential dangers associated with farming and agriculture, and is part of a national strategy, aimed at reducing the number of accidents on farms and in the countryside.
As an existing component of the SPHE curriculum, this programme will also provide Irish primary school classrooms with fun, interactive resources and webinars all tailored to the Farm Safe School ethos.
In order to become accredited Farm Safe Schools, teachers must cover three topics in each programme module (two topics for infant classes) and show evidence of learnings achieved for each. Teachers can create a web page, a logbook or blog page to showcase their classes’ hard work on raising farm safety awareness. They are also encouraged to share their progress via social media, using the hashtag #FarmSafeSchools.
The modules focus on the main farm hazards most pertinent to children including farmer and field safety, animal safety and machinery safety. There is also an opportunity to win prizes and to become recognised nationally that you are making a positive contribution towards farm safety in the wider, rural community.
As well as achieving the status of becoming a recognised ‘Farm Safe School’, participating schools who show excellence in each module and overall will have additional opportunities to gain rewards through the ‘FBD Farm Safe Schools Champions’ initiative.
Speaking about the new, dedicated Farm Safe Schools pilot programme, Agri Aware chairman, Alan Jagoe, who is a dairy and tillage farmer from Co Cork said:
“We are delighted to collaborate on this new Farm Safe Schools programme with AgriKids and IFA. As a farmer myself, with three young daughters, I know how important farm safety is on Irish family farms. Farm accidents have a devastating impact on Irish families and their livelihoods each year.
“I would encourage teachers nationwide to sign their classes up to this programme which is seeking to engage children from a young age on the topic of farm safety and encourage them to form life-long, positive farm safety habits. On behalf of Agri Aware, I would like to thank FBD Trust for its support of this dedicated farm safety programme,” said Mr Jagoe.
Alma Jordan, who set up Ireland’s leading farm safety platform, AgriKids in 2015, added that she feels the collaboration will lead to kick-starting conversations on farm safety both in the classroom and in households across Ireland and help create a positive culture around farm safety nationwide.
“After running AgriKids school workshops, a new objective, to bring a dedicated and supported farm safety programme to our children was realised. It is with a shared sense of relief and pride that I view the launch of this pilot between AgriKids, Agri Aware and IFA, supported by FBD Trust,” said Ms Jordan.
“We have a huge opportunity to not just create more dialogue and conversations on the topic of farm safety but to also create a greater sense of unity on the topic and an opportunity for everyone to contribute to a safer farm future for all. We all have a role to play in creating a safer culture and attitude around farm safety.”
IFA President Tim Cullinan said the new initiative to deliver a dedicated farm safety programme through schools will be an important part of raising awareness around farm safety.
“The school setting – whether in the classroom or remotely – is an excellent approach to reinforce an essential message. The experience that Agri Aware has with schools, combined with the child-centred approach of AgriKids, is an excellent partnership,” he said.
FBD Chief Commercial Officer, John Cahalan welcomed the new Farm Safe Schools programme and stated that FBD Trust is proud to support the pilot programme.
“Over the past 10 years, children have accounted for 10% of all fatalities as a result of accidents on farms. Now is the time to create a positive safety culture on farms and to succeed it is imperative that we target the farmers of the future as well as the farmers of today,” said Mr Cahalan.
“At FBD Insurance we welcome any opportunity to promote safe farm practices and we are proud to support this fantastic safety initiative, Farm Safe Schools, which aims to engage children at a young age, to teach them essential farm safety practises that will serve them well throughout their lives and to empower them to become farm safety champions.”
Pic: Eamon Delany, 8, on his family's farm in Julianstown, Co Meath.