Next Generation Champions

Howard Wood picHoward Wood – Award Winning Educationalist

Retired Advanced Skills Teacher specialising in the use of outdoor classroom and social inclusion

Oathall Community College, Haywards Heath, West Sussex

What do you do?

I ran a school farm in Warwickshire before spending the bulk of my career developing Oathall Community College Farm in Sussex into what Ofsted described as, “an outstanding resource for Oathall pupils and for other schools nationally and internationally.  It provides memorable experiences and cross curricular learning, generates an impressive network of partnerships, makes community cohesion an exceptionally strong and working reality and motivates students of all abilities.”

I thoroughly enjoyed 37 years developing the farm and welcomed some very high profile visitors during that time including HRH The Prince of Wales and well-known gardener, broadcaster and novelist, Alan Titchmarsh.

What have been your career highlights?

  • In May 2000 it was my great honour to host HRH The Prince of Wales when he visited Oathall
  • Setting up the Schools Farms Network in 2004 and becoming its first Chairman
  • In 2007 I was invited to take some students and join HRH The Prince of Wales to launch the year of food and farming at Highgrove
  • In 2008 I was named the South East Secondary Teacher of the Year by the Teaching Awards panel, reaching the national final shortlist, later I was appointed as a judge on the panel
  • Oathall Farm won South and South East in Bloom 2014 Blooming Schools Competition Gold Award
  •  In 2014 I received a lifetime achievement award from the Times Educational Supplement.

I have to say my biggest career highlight will always remain my students.

How are you involved with the Society?

I serve on both the Education and Pig, Sheep and Goats Committees at the Society. I commentate on pigs at the South of England Show and have supported both the Spring and Autumn shows with my students for many years.

What are your plans next?

The Society plays a significant role in introducing young people to land based careers and I am very pleased at being involved with the Next Generation Campaign this year.  Working in partnership with colleges, schools and other businesses we hope to inspire other young achievers to come into an industry that is rich with diversity and opportunities.

How does the Society support the next generation?

Primary schools are invited to the Connect with the Countryside day in July, visitors to the shows are able to find useful information on a range of careers in the countryside and conferences are open to all.  The Society is committed to the ongoing support of young people in the agricultural industry through competitions, bursaries and scholarships.

Whether your interests lie in farming or wine making, horticulture, forestry or biodiversity, micro biology or even sheep genomics we want you to get in touch or come along to one of the events organised by the Society to learn more about the many ways they are helping the Next Generation of thinkers and achievers.