past events
Highlights of our Previous Education 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

“Thank you so much for the wonderful breakfast workshop on Monday. We ALL really enjoyed it! Lots of the parents have commented on how much their children have talked about it all. And quite a few are now having porridge for breakfast!!” – Home Farm School

“Thank you very much for yesterday. I have spoken to the teacher and the children who said they enjoyed it very much and felt they had learnt something new. The children really liked Buttercup the cow” – King’s Court First School

Agricultural Challenge for Special Education

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

“Thanks again for a lovely day. Everyone enjoyed themselves and they’re already asking when the next one is! The judges were all really kind and showed a genuine interest when they were chatting to the students – which is exactly what they needed. It was great to see more people taking part and to get more ideas, I’m looking forward to seeing them all again when we meet up.” – Addington School

“Thank you so much for yesterday, the children really enjoyed being in the limelight and talking to everybody. I have just done an assembly with the whole school and each class were delighted with their certificate. Thank you so much for sending over the one for the seaside collage, I was able to present that too.” – Mary Hare Primary

“I would like to thank you once again for inviting us. The students had a fantastic time and on the way home have already started to think of ideas for next year. They would like to enter every category next time. It was amazing the standard of work that was produced.” – Reading college

Autumn Harvest Celebration

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

The day consists 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.

“Please pass on our thanks to all those involved, we had a lovely day, the children all asked if they could come next year.” – Thatcham Park Primary School

“Thank you so much for all the lovely activities yesterday. Our children, and adults, enjoyed the day immensely. It was an interesting and well organised event and must have taken a lot of organising!” – Finchampstead Primary School

“Just a quick note of thanks for a wonderful day yesterday. The children had a really lovely time and came back to school with tales of apple bobbing, chocolate cake and exploring the woods! Thank you so very much for all the hard work you and your team put into this event, we, as a participating school, are really grateful. Please pass our thanks on to everyone in your team, a great day was had by all!” – St Anthony’s Primary School

Cookery School

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

“Cookery School, run with great enthusiasm and skill, is now an established program in Dedworth Middle School. The pupils who go through the program get an enormous amount of benefit. In the past we have selected G & T pupils, SEN pupils, behaviour issues and now we decided to target EAL. This program gives pupils confidence and allows them to bond with an elite group. Pupils are given excellent guidance on practical, seasonal cooking reinforcing and developing many aspects of the curriculum. All pupils who participate thoroughly enjoy the program and are more prepared for adulthood as a result. I hope Jan continues to work with Dedworth Middle School.” – Dedworth Middle School

“We have been taking part in the Cookery School for the past few years. We are very pleased with the outcomes for our students and will definitely like to continue to support this program.

Jan Murray is an excellent leader of the cookery school and delivers a program suitable for all abilities taking into account any disabilities or issues the students may have.

The students gain a lot of skills from these sessions, for example, working as a team or group, sharing, socialising as well as learning key life skills.

All our students have shown improvement in their social and emotional development and have enjoyed every session with Jan.” – The Downs School


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.

Outdoor Themed Days at the Showground

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.

“Just a note to say thank you again for today. My daughter was buzzing with details of all the games and challenges she’d enjoyed.”

“Thanks for today. I didn’t really know what to expect or how it would pan out with my children. I have to say though, that I thought the day went really well and the children and I enjoyed ourselves. I think having the venue outside was what, personally, made it work for us” – Home Educators

Ploughing Match Competitions

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.

“I would like to say “THANK YOU” for organising the Scarecrow Competition. It was a great art and D&T project for us in the school. We are ‘over the moon’ that one of our scarecrows won the first prize!” – St Joseph’s Primary School

Potato Challenge for Schools

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.

“Thank you for organising a super day on Monday. The children were delighted to see how many potatoes they had grown and were very proud to take them home.” – Home Farm School

“Just to say thank you to you and the team for another fun harvesting day. Although we didn’t get an abundance of potatoes we cooked what we had and made another potato salad yesterday to share with the year 4 children. They loved making it, everyone enjoyed eating it and all came back for seconds! Thank you again” – Pippins Primary School

The Education Marquee

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 education tent was indeed a fantastic display of so many schools and education providers. Well done for getting so many organised – not an easy task!” – Kennet School

“Thank you very much for a lovely afternoon. As always it was great to see everyone’s’ displays and we came away with lots of new ideas as well as loads of photos. The musicians were lovely to listen to and we really enjoyed the coffee and cakes.” – Addington School

“We would like to thank you for the fantastic opportunity of demonstrating with the winning Masterchef teams in the Cookery Theatre at the Berkshire Show. Our students thoroughly enjoyed their time on stage and for many this was their first experience of anything like it, and the first opportunity to represent Trinity and showcase their achievements.” Trinity School

Meet the Animals

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 –

“Thank you so much for all your hard work yesterday. The children obviously enjoyed it and were full of chat when I got back to the classroom at the end of the day. Hopefully we’ll be doing the same next year.” – St Mary’s Primary School

“Thanks so much for bringing in Clover to meet us. It was a lovely way to start a morning and such an informative talk. I learnt a lot and I’m sure the children did as well” – Woolhampton Primary

“I just wanted to say a huge thank you to you both for visiting Bucklebury yesterday. The children thoroughly enjoyed it and you really brought our topic to life. The sausages in particular were a big hit and were enjoyed by all!” – Bucklebury Primary School

“Thank you so much for coming. The sausage workshop was a brilliant way to engage pupils with food they eat and where they come from. The talk had a good mix of facts, hands on activities and demonstrations. It was well delivered and the children clearly learnt a lot.” – Millbrook Vale Academy

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