As part of plans to teach children more about the countryside and rural life, the Countryside Alliance (CA) are lobbying for an increase in ‘outdoor education’ in schools. The idea is ultimately to increase awareness in young people, and provide an invaluable insight into what our ‘green and pleasant land’ has to offer.

They claim everything from outdoor pursuits such as horse riding, clay pigeon shooting and fishing, to elementary farming should be a part of the national curriculum with the aim to create a new subject area, which would allow children to be assessed up to GCSE level.

Other existing subjects could also incorporate elements of rural activities under the new proposals – lambing in biology for example, or the study of plants as part of the Fibonacci sequence in mathematics. An awareness of traditional country sports such as fishing, shooting and hunting within the law should also be given to children as part of their education, according to Campaigns Director for the CA, Rob Gray.

This suggestion has come under criticism from the League Against Cruel Sports (LACS), but Mr Gray argues that the countryside is not all about ‘cuddly bunnies’, and that ‘whatever your view of it, hunting, shooting, fishing and country pursuits are part of the living working countryside in which hundreds of thousands of people take part and are employed.’

‘Teachers and children should be able to get an insight into what goes on in the countryside – from country pursuits to food production – and then make up their own minds,’ he added.

The idea is part of the CA’s new Rural Manifesto , which it hopes will ‘promote changes in five key areas that will make a real and lasting difference to the countryside.’ The key points of the manifesto outline an increase in support for farmers, an improvement in rural services and improved education in schools, as well as a repeal of the controversial Hunting Act.

In the build-up to the General Election, the Countryside Alliance aims to put the needs of the countryside high on the Government’s agenda.
 
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