School develops links with local community

LAMBS: Agriculture Club members with their lambs.

THROUGH a caring, focused and competitive learning environment, Holy Trinity College in Cookstown has built strong and purposeful links with a wide range of partners in the local and wider community.

These links ensure that the school can provide opportunities to the greater benefit of all stakeholders in the area.

GROUP: The steering group behind the Agriculture Club.

A spokesman said: “Our continuous journey through the provision of the education authority’s Extended Schools Programme has allowed the school to offer additional services and activities outside of the normal curriculum school day.

“Our Extended School Co-ordinator has reviewed and evaluated the success of each of the activities and fully appreciates how the school’s programmes invest in the promotion of instilling self-confidence and belief, and how new skills can be brought to the fore. The college endorse the belief that learning does not stop for pupils when they leave the classroom.”

While the school prides itself on the delivery of in-school activities in Arts and Crafts, Improving Literacy, Numeracy, raising curricular and extra-curricular standards along with STEM, Holy Trinity College took a step into new territory in September 2019. With great interest being expressed by students, the school saw the running of its first Agriculture Club.

Under the direction of Mr McClean, Head of Department for Agriculture, and Mr Loughran, Extended Schools Co-ordinator, plans for the club grew. The vision was to connect the theory of farming concepts against practical activities. The projects have allowed pupils to develop project management tools, including time and money management, working with others along with how to set targets to achieve agreed goals.

Extended thanks to parish priest Fr Boyle for allowing parish grounds to be used to nurture and grow vegetables.

Linden Foods kindly provided the sponsorship of lambs, which were kept at Mr McClean’s farm, a successful project which saw how the practical aspects of husbandry management complimented the end result of bringing the lambs ready for consumption to Linden Foods. This continued further to Marks and Spencers to view the product on the shelf.

The next project was underway; working closely with local business owner Barry Hutton from Hutton’s Butchers, the club successfully secured sponsorship to the value of £700 to purchase a suckled calf.

The members became responsible for the feeding and monitoring of this animal in a similar manner to that of the lambs. The concept of ‘field to fork’ was echoed, with many of the members stretching to those who had no familiarity within the sector.

This was a remarkable journey for the pupils, teachers and businesses involved. Albeit that the number of activities had to be limited for the Beef Calf Project, the audience was reached through social media and adhering to social distancing.

The club welcomed representation at council and Executive level in July, taking the opportunity to share

the work of the club and see the


The calf also visited the school prior to sale, giving the pupils the opportunity to come close to the halter-led calf and stimulating conversations around the processes of farming.

Mr McClean said: “We are extremely proud of the project and are excited about our future ventures.”

The calf was purchased on November 1, 2019, weighing in at 240kg for £700 (£2.92kg) and sold on November 23, 2020. On sale day the calf weighed in at 540kg and sold for £1,600 (£2.96kg).

Over the period of time the team calculated the daily liveweight gain and measured this against diet.

CALF: Agriculture Club members with the calf they purchased in November 2019.

It is anticipated that the success and details of this project will be measured against future projects, identifying whether there is a correlation between breeds and sexes and the daily liveweight gain.


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