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Leitrim School named Agri Aware National Farm Safe Schools Champions

St Joseph’s National School, Killenummery, Co Leitrim, have been crowned the National Winners in the School category of the Agri Aware Farm Safe School programme.

The school is celebrating after being crowned the Agri Aware Farm Safe Schools National Champions for 2022. A strong achievement given 19,500 school children from over 450 schools across the country signed up for the programme. Martin Heydon TD, Minister for State at the Department of Agriculture, Food, and the Marine, with responsibility for Farm Safety was on hand at St Joseph’s NS, Killenummery to present the prize to the winning school.

Over the course of the programme, sponsored by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, schools engaged in a series of farm safety-themed modules, helping them to be ambassadors for farm safety and empower cultural change at home and within their communities. 

The National winners from Killenummery chose Farm Safety as the theme for their St Patrick’s Day Parade, had farm safety speakers come into their school, visited a farm to spot potential dangers and created role play videos, showcased as part of their school blog.

As a prize, the school will receive €2,000.00 to spend on the wellbeing of their students. 5th and 6th class of Athlacca National School in Co. Limerick also took home the Class Champion Award, seeing them win €500.00 for their class. The innovative students created farm safety keyrings for tractors and also ran an ‘Eye on Safety’ project as part of their submission.        

Speaking at the prize giving, Minister Martin Heydon TD said: “The Farm Safe Schools programme plays an important role in our efforts to improve farm safety. By engaging with children, some of whom will be tomorrow’s young farmers, this programme is an opportunity to ingrain a lifelong culture of safety in their approach to farming”.

“The pupils of St Joseph’s National School are to be congratulated for their great effort and initiative in the projects they undertook to increase not only their own awareness of farm safety, but also to raise awareness in their homes and in their community. Through the Farm Safe Schools programme, we have been able to reach 19,500 pupils around the country in over 450 communities and they are now equipped to become champions for farm safety. This will make an important contribution in reducing the unacceptably high incidence rate of farm fatalities and serious injuries on Irish farms.”

Farm Safe Schools Coordinator and AgriKids founder, Alma Jordan explained what made the winners stand out from the crowd.

“Our winners today have shown how capable they are by achieving superstar status but what led them to taking the top honours comes down to the way they took the information and disseminated it around their school and communities.

“St Joseph’s really engaged with the materials and created their own lessons through play, they invited speakers, surveyed farmers and then took the message to their community by choosing farm safety as the theme for their St Patrick’s Day parade, winning best parade entry. 

“It sends a very powerful message to adults when young children take on such a serious topic. 

Identifying and creating awareness drives the impact we need to achieve in Farm Safe Schools, these national champions are a testament to that.

Agri Aware Executive Director, Marcus O’Halloran expressed his delight to the national winners.

“The Agri Aware Farm Safe Schools Programme is one of our most important as it aims to save lives by improving farm safety. The children are really bringing their learning home to their parents and grandparents. It is great to see the effort and imagination that goes into the annual submissions from the programme and the long-term benefits will be overall improved farm safety.”

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