Delivering Fun & Engaging Education

Our Education Programme is open to all schools across Berkshire, South Oxfordshire, East Wiltshire and North Hampshire and can be tailored to individual school requirements or you can simply book one of Jan’s seasonal events. 

There is no cost to schools for any part of the Education programme. We do suggest schools book as soon as possible though, as events do book up very quickly.

Our education programme

Breakfast Workshop: Discussing the most important meal of the day, with demonstrations of making porridge and smoothies, breakfast themed activities followed by planting cereal seeds.

Cookery School: Practical cookery sessions, using locally sourced, in season produce. Students will be given the chance to experience field to fork with a farm visit to where the produce has come from.

Agricultural challenge for special education: Schools register and are then given a number of themes to choose. Students then work on their items over the school terms and then all get to show off their amazing work to a selection of judges.

Design, make and market challenge: Students design agricultural and horticultural themed products which are then pitched to an invited audience and panel of judges who decide the winners.

Grow your own potatoes: Planting, growing and harvesting your very own crop of potatoes. Whoever gets the heaviest crop at the end wins!

Autumn Harvest: Schools come along with their home grown pumpkins, learn about growing vegetables from local farmers, play apple bobbing, as well as eating pumpkin soup and apple crumble.

Farm Visit: Children from across Berkshire visit local farms where they learn all about crops, keeping animals, farming machinery and woodland management.

Scarecrow Competition: Open to all schools, with entries usually judged at the annual ploughing match.

Sausage Week: Celebrating the great British banger, school children get the chance to make, cook and taste their own sausages

Our programme calendar

Shake Up Your Wake Up breakfast  WorkshopJanuary 8th – January 26th 2024
Potato Challenge – PlantingMarch 11th & 12th 2024
Potato Challenge – HarvestingJune 17th & 18th 2024
Agricultural Challenge for Special EducationMay 9th 2024
Design, Make and Market Challenge for Secondary SchoolsMay 3rd 2024
Autumn Harvest CelebrationOctober 1st 2024 – Showground, October 22nd 2024 – Wellington College
Cookery School for Secondary SchoolsOngoing throughout year
Outdoor Themed DaysOn demand throughout year
Meet the AnimalsOn demand throughout year
British Sausage WeekNovember 4th 2024 – November 8th 2024
Debating CompetitionJanuary/March 2024

Past Events

British Sausage Week took place from Tuesday 30th October to Friday 2nd November, and our Education Officer, Jan Murray was very busy visiting a number of schools to deliver fun and informative workshops.

Firstly, Jan prepares for the workshops by cooking a LOT of vegetarian and pork sausages for the blind tastings that the children do during the workshop.

The children then get the chance to make their own sausages, from scratch, which involves putting together flavours for the minced pork, so they could be lamb and mint, beef and chilli, pork and apple and so many more delicious options!

Jan then uses her very popular assistant, Rasher the Pig (not a real pig) to explain where about’s the sausage meat is located, along with some really fun facts about sausages, for example:

Did you know Sausages are a very old food, having been around for over 2,000 years and are as popular as ever today. In this country alone over 5 million people eat sausages every day!

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the first specific reference in English came in a fifteenth century vocabulary ‘Salcicia’, a ‘sawsage’

Sausages were nicknamed bangers during the Second World War. Their high water content due to the scarcity of other ingredients meant that they were liable to explode when cooked as the water turned to steam.

Each year the Society offers breakfast workshops to support and coincide with the AHDB Breakfast Project “Shake Up Your Wake Up”, which promotes breakfast as the most important meal of the day.

The workshops are suitable for Primary school age range and consist of a morning for up to around 30 pupils beginning with a demonstration of porridge and breakfast smoothies with tastings, followed by some breakfast themed games.

A talk using Buttercup comes next and finally the pupils plant breakfast cereal crops; oats, wheat and barley.

In 2019, the Breakfast Workshops proved popular as ever, with the children enjoying smoothies and warm porridge, as well as fun breakfast-related games to kick-start their day. And Jan’s preparation for her 3-week tour of Berkshire was very well organised as usual. Here’s some fun facts about Jan’s tour:

  • Jan visited 14 schools in Newbury, Bracknell, Slough, Wokingham, – Maidenhead, Windsor, Eton and Lambourn.
  • 705 miles were covered
  • 380 children attended the workshops
  • 5 volunteers helped Jan
  • 14 litres of orange and apple juice was used to make the smoothies
  • 14 litres of milk was used to make the porridge
  • 28 bananas, apples and oranges were cut, sliced and added to the smoothies
  • 14 bags of frozen cherries was also used
  • 14 bags of frozen peaches and nectarines was added to the smoothie mix
  • 420 grams of oats was used for the porridge


This challenge is spread over two terms where participating schools will work on a series of activities agreed upon the previous summer. Schools can enter in 5 of the categories and can bring along a team of 9 students on the day of the final.

During the final, a selection of judges from the Society will attend and enjoy looking at the fantastic work on display. Certificates are awarded to all of the participating students and also awarded to the winner of each category.

Trophies are then awarded to the ‘Best in Show’, with the winning school also receiving £100 in prize money, with runners up also receiving a cash prize each.

The Final of the Agricultural Challenge for Special Education are held in the Arlington Arts Centre, Mary Hare School, Newbury early/mid May.

The categories are as follows:

  • Something with the theme of ‘Wildlife in the countryside’
  • A ‘diorama’ in a shoe box of an imaginary garden
  • Something made from the wood from a used wooden pallet – if too big to transport then a photograph is permitted as evidence
  • A visual diary over time – seed-to-seed
  • A cake that contains a vegetable
  • A planted hanging basket
  • A different way to display house plants
  • A multimedia artwork of a wild animal found in a garden

The winner in 2019 was Newbury College with Addington, Bulmershe, Mary Hare Primary and the Castle School runners up.

If this is something of interest to you and would you are interested in participating in our next challenge, please contact Jan on 01635 247111 or by emailing

Each October two days are held celebrating the best of home grown autumn produce, at the showground and at Wellington College.

The day consisted of:

  • Apple bobbing
  • The story of Johnny Appleseed
  • A talk and tasting of English apple varieties
  • A close examination of seasonal vegetables such as squashes and pumpkins
  • A demonstration and tastings of apple crumble and pumpkin soup
  • Exploring the Showground for autumnal items to create an individual autumn collage
  • After lunch the weighing is held of school grown pumpkins and prizes are awarded for the heaviest specimens.

In 2019, the heaviest pumpkins were grown by St. Nicholas’ Junior School, and Oaklands Juniors were the winners at the event that took place at Wellington College. Both schools received a prize to take back to school.

This event runs annually in October with dates and venues confirmed closer to the date. Please contact Jan, our Education Officer if you would like to register your interest – or call Jan on 01635 247111.

Cookery School is an exciting opportunity for secondary schools.

Four practical sessions using locally sourced, in-season produce are based at the school and spread over an academic year, with the fifth session a farm visit to see where the produce comes from and how it is grown.

Cookery School is free and can fit into your school timetable; taking place during lessons, lunchtimes or after school. Please email to be added.

The farms currently supporting Cookery School are:

  • Coleshill Organics
  • Peterley Manor Farm
  • Cobbs Farm
  • Cobbs at Englefield
  • Hare Hatch Sheeplands

Schools across Berkshire and neighbouring counties are invited to enter a team* in an exciting challenge for secondary schools, with a grand final to be held in May of each year at the Berkshire College of Agriculture.

DESIGN: a product with an agricultural or horticultural theme – be as inventive and imaginative as you wish – there are no boundaries;

MAKE: a prototype of your design;

MARKET: at the Judging Day, market your product to a panel of judges and invited guests.


  • 1st place: £200
  • 2nd place: £100
  • 3rd place: £75

£100 will also be presented to each school attending the Judging Day to assist with start up costs. The winning school will also be offered the option of a free stand in the Education marquee at The Royal County of Berkshire Show to sell their product to the public (not compulsory).

*Teams can be of any size but to attend the Judging Day we ask for a maximum of 6 representatives.

In 2019, the winning team was from Kennet School, who designed an agricultural-themed board game based loosely on the Monopoly format. It was incredibly detailed and they had put a lot of thought into what they included as a means to educate young children.

Dedworth Middle School entered four teams and two tied for second place. One team designed rotating planters for crops complete with an app to control when the plants would need to be watered. They created a great short animation about it and how it was environmentally beneficial.

The other team from Dedworth designed an all encompassing chick coop, which again was environmentally sensitive, including solar panels.

The Clere School took third place with their wooden planters made from reclaimed wood for people to grow their own food who did not have access to a garden.

If this sounds of interest, contact Jan Murray, Education Officer as soon as possible to register:
e-mail: or call 01635 247111.

When no shows are taking place on the showground, its a vast open but secure space where the Education Officer can arrange and lead a themed day tailored to the individual requirements of a school.

Themes on offer range from team building, orienteering, colour, senses, plants, minibeasts, natural/manmade etc. A typical day starts around 10am with warm up activities to get used to the space and break down inhibitions before moving on to focused tasks.

Around the middle of the day there would be a break for lunch before continuing again in the afternoon until around 2.30pm. The pupils bring a packed lunch and hot drinks are provided for adults.

If a wet day then use can be made of the Society building as a base although the outdoors would still be used for most of the practical activities. For any day a group of up to around 30 pupils can be accommodated but there is no limit to how many days a school can book, subject to the showground and building being free and the Education Officer being available.

These days are free of charge so if it sounds of interest, please contact Jan to discuss your preferred theme. Email or call 01635 247111.

Each October the Society hold a Ploughing Match and schools and youth groups are invited to enter any of the following competitions:

  • Best dressed scarecrows
  • Colourful kites
  • Autumn collages using items found in the countryside

Entries must be delivered to the showground the day before the match at the latest, and then collected from the showground at your earliest convenience afterwards. By prior arrangement, entries for the scarecrow competition can be collected directly from the school and returned after the event.

In 2019, the winning scarecrow was the Tin Tin Man, made by students at the Addington School.

If you’re interested in taking part in future Ploughing Match School Competitions, please email Jan on or call 01635 247111.

In January, Primary schools are invited to register with the Potato Council for their free potato growing kits and then come along to a Planting day in March, either at the showground or Langley Academy where they will enjoy the following:

  • A talk on growing potatoes; from planting their seed potatoes in grow bags to taking them back to school to grow
  • A potato salad making session with tastings
  • The opportunity to learn about the importance of smell when tasting, with a blind potato crisp experiment
  • The chance to decorate their own potato cake.
  • In June, the schools are invited back to the Showground and bring their grow bags to harvest after making their own individual potato salad. Prizes are awarded to the heaviest yields.

If you’re interested in taking part, please email Jan on or call 01635 247111.

Every year, pre-schools, primary, secondary, mainstream and special schools across Berkshire are invited to exhibit in the Education tent at the Royal County of Berkshire Show.

Schools can book one or two trestle tables and choose to exhibit high quality work or display to the competition theme of “Work Outside the Classroom” or “Environmental Artwork” (secondary schools only).

Displays have to be assembled the day before the Show and the Society Vice Chair and the President Elect judge the competition entries under the guidance of the Chair of the Education committee. Prizes are awarded to the winning schools.

There is no cost to display in the tent.

Places need to be booked in advance with Jan, our Education Officer by email:

Schools are also invited to bring along a group of students to perform over the weekend of the Show or at the President’s Tea Party, which is held at 4.00pm the day before the Show.

In 2019 the winner of the “Work Outside the Classroom” competition was Robert Sandilands School and “Environmental Artwork” was Kennet School.

The Society has three wooden animals that can be booked for school visits.

BUTTERCUP the milking cow is used to educate young people where milk comes from and a visit includes a talk appropriate to the age of the pupils and the opportunity to milk her.

For pre-school and KS1 children, the talk is the story of milk from cow to shops. For years 3/4 the focus is on Rights and Needs, and year’s 5/6 are introduced to the processes that milk undergoes before consumption, including the story of Louis Pasteur and pasteurization.

CLOVER the goat is another animal that children get to milk and also the opportunity to taste goat’s cheese.

RASHER the Berkshire pig is a starting point for a talk on where sausages come from and how all of the pig is used. A visit includes a sausage making demonstration and a plate of freshly made sausages for the school to cook.

Early November is British Sausage Week and to support this the Society run sausage workshops that last about one hour and are suitable for a class of up to 30 pupils. The workshop includes information about the history of sausages and sausage facts as well as blind tasting of pork and vegetarian sausages. A talk on Rasher the wooden pig is included as well as a sausage making demonstration.

Bookings can be made by downloading and completing the booking form below and emailing it to Jan, the Education Officer –