Seeing the success of the day trips to the farm, in 2001 Sheila Coates asked Lydia to host regular sessions with a school leaving group. These young people represented the more complex end of the spectrum for whom there was little post-school provision, and included Lydia’s original pupil, Dan.
They all responded well to being in the outdoors and to being part of the daily working life of the farm. Sheila noted especially the way that they retained practical skills because of the plentiful opportunities for meaningful practice that farm life gave, such as feeding hay to the cows or moving and stacking logs . Soon the farm’s year was incorporated into the students’ learning, which developed into an Open Colleges Network accredited curriculum called Countryside Skills. More students joined; from Chinnor and also as school leavers placed by their Care Managers. Lydia began to work as a teacher at the Farm full time