THESE pint-sized farm hands are certainly not making a pig’s ear out of caring for these four swine, who are the latest addition to the animal community at one forward-thinking Derbyshire school.
The Gloucester Old Spots have been stirring up excitement at Bolsover C of E Junior School since they arrived at the start of term, to help teach the youngsters about the origins of their food.
Teacher and farming co-ordinator, Claire Rodgers, said the animals allow the children to appreciate life cycles and learn basic farming skills.
“We are trying to develop the children’s knowledge of animal husbandry and where their food comes from,” said Claire. “I don’t know of any other school in the area doing anything like this.”
She added: “The pigs have been here a few weeks but we have had chickens for three years. We had ten chickens and we lost two, and the children have dealt with the loss really well. It is important for them to learn about these things.”
The pigs have become part of everyday learning, from piggy-themed science lessons to hands-on farm work. And they are but newcomers to the school’s ever-expanding menagerie.
Keen farmer, Logan Galley, 8, said: “We have chickens, a hamster called Colin, a guinea pig called Rosie, Terry the turtle and African land snails.”
Nathan Sawyer, 10 – who plays a key role in caring for the pigs with friend, Alex Odling, 10 – added: “We have a zoo! We will be getting an elephant next!”
And although caring for swine may be muddy work, all the pupils have proved keen to don their wellies and get stuck in.
“They are so loving and friendly” said Charlotte Sawyer, 8. “The pigs always come to us when we go in the pen.”
But while they may be fond of the four-legged friends, they haven’t been named and are not viewed as pets.
Claire added: “These animals will be sent to slaughter and the children know that it is a part of their life cycle.”
Headteacher, Rowena Herbert, said the pigs have already become a great asset to the children’s education at the school, which is accredited Gold in the national scheme, Food for Life.
“It has been fantastic” she said. “The children have really enjoyed looking after the pigs and they are getting more and more understanding of where our food comes from.”
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By Ellie Hunter