Barleylands’ Chris Philpot WINS Lifetime Achievement Award

Barleylands’ Chris Philpot has paid tribute to his ‘dedicated team’ after scooping a national Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to education at an awards ceremony held last week (Thursday 24 November).

Chris was presented with this prestigious award for his work to ensure that young people have inspiring experiences outside the classroom.

The Council for Learning Outside the Classroom’s awards honour individuals and teams who have made ‘a significant impact on the lives of children and young people through their commitment to providing and/or championing exciting and inspiring learning outside the classroom’.

Learning outside the classroom plays an important role in helping young people to achieve their goals by providing hands-on practical experiences that bring learning to life.  Whether this is through fieldwork, school activities such as forest schools, educational visits to museums, galleries, farm activity centres or cultural expeditions abroad, learning outside the classroom can build lasting, positive learning experiences.

Chris Philpot has been running educational visits at Barleylands for over 30 years.  He is passionate about educating children and has committed his career to engaging young people with farming and the countryside.

In 1984, having grown up on the farm with his father collecting vintage farm machinery, he decided, along with the family, to create a farm museum where the equipment could be displayed with information to help visitors understand more about food and farming. The museum provided the catalyst for the development of the farm.

Until the late 1990s, Chris would host school trips by himself.  Today, Barleylands employs an education team, with all school visits run by experienced CEVAS trained staff, who share his enthusiasm for creating fun filled educational experiences and days out for 14,000 children every year.

The farm museum, now called the Discovery Barn, provides a unique experience for schools and visitors where children can grind wheat, match seeds to food, make healthy lunchboxes, learn about food miles and sample milking methods from the past.

From growing crops, vegetable plots, a polytunnel, farm animals and a purpose built kitchen classroom where children can cook from scratch during a visit, Chris has developed the farm over the years, adding a host of new experiences.

Chris Philpot said:  “I would like to thank the team at Barleylands for all the work that they do.  They demonstrate such commitment and dedication to ensuring that young people of all ages have memorable hands on experiences which bring farming and education to life.”

He added:  “I am absolutely elated, this is recognition of the hard work of the whole team.  It’s not just Barleylands that wants to get children outside, the awards ceremony brought together so many inspiring people and it was an honour to be amongst them.”

Elaine Skates, Chief Executive of the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom said: “We believe that every child should be given the opportunity to experience life and lessons beyond the classroom walls as a regular part of growing up. It is clear that Chris has made significant strides forward to make this happen, helping LOtC to grow and flourish.  Congratulations to Chris and all the team at Barleylands who are expanding the horizons of young people and opening their eyes to the wonders of the natural world.”

Emily Fulda of Canal & River Explorers, who sponsored the Lifetime Achievement Award, added:  “These awards are a great way to demonstrate the importance of outdoor learning and how beneficial it is for a child’s overall development. This year’s nominees have contributed a staggering amount to the sector and it is a credit to Chris that he was voted the winner against such a strong shortlist.”

Barleylands’ Education Officer Karen Watson added:  “We are thrilled that Chris has been recognised with this Lifetime Achievement Award, it’s greatly deserved!  He has such an incredible passion for farming and education and works tirelessly to share information and knowledge about the countryside, nature, food and where it comes from with the next generation. Well done Chris!”

Almost six thousand votes were received for this year’s awards.