Where did the chicken go to school?

Pupils at Cliff Park School looking after the four new chickens which they have got for their allotment.

Picture: James Bass Pupils at Cliff Park School looking after the four new chickens which they have got for their allotment. Picture: James Bass

Friday, September 28, 2012
12:01 PM

Churchill the Bantam chicken has given up life on the farm to go to school in Gorleston.

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Pupils at Cliff Park School looking after the four new chickens which they have got for their allotment.

Picture: James BassPupils at Cliff Park School looking after the four new chickens which they have got for their allotment. Picture: James Bass

The six-month-old and her three poultry pals moved into Cliff Park High School over the summer holidays, with a cosy coop outside the staff room.

Having hens was the idea of teaching assistant Lisa George - now known as “the chicken lady” by students - who suggested it would teach youngsters about sustainability.

And curious teens are now eagerly awaiting Churchill’s first eggs.

Ms George, 30, said: “It’s really great to watch the children interact with the chickens.

Cliff Park School pupils Billy Vincent, Darryl Crusoe, Ben Gibbs, Ben Dyson and Luca Mangili pictured with Lisa George and Lekon Oliwo.  The school has got four new bantam chickens.   Picture: James BassCliff Park School pupils Billy Vincent, Darryl Crusoe, Ben Gibbs, Ben Dyson and Luca Mangili pictured with Lisa George and Lekon Oliwo. The school has got four new bantam chickens. Picture: James Bass

“They say ‘it’s cool, we can’t believe we’ve got chickens!’

“Everybody has the opportunity to be involved and people we didn’t think would be interested have asked to see them - even Year 10 and 11 children.”

The four chickens are named after the school’s four houses - Nightingale, Darwin, Anderson and Churchill.

And pupils have been feeding them and keeping their living quarters spick and span.

“Some girls are quite squeamish around the chickens,” revealed Ms George. “They’re nervous but once they get feeding them it’s great to see.

“They’re forward to the chickens starting to lay eggs and will sell them in the staff room with the vegetables from the allotment.”

Ms George said she got the idea for school chickens in July, when youngsters - including a boy who had lived on a farm - enquired about it.

Staff were already looking to expand the range of extracurricular activities on offer, and decided the birds would help teach youngsters about a “more sustainable future”.

Cliff Park’s head teacher agreed that the school would shell out for their coop, and local businesses B&Q and Leroy Clearance Limited have chipped in too.

After a summer spent with the school caretaker, students have been befriending the new additions.

“The chickens are really happy and very friendly,” said Ms George. “They’re calm and come right up to you.

“They don’t mind seeing different children.”

A chicken rota has been drawn up, with youngsters visiting the coop in groups of three

The school’s eco area is now growing - taking in a pond with goldfish, the chicken run and an allotment growing carrots, potatoes and tomatoes.

And while the school does not have its sights set on other farmyard animals to accompany the chickens yet, Ms George has not ruled it out.

“Watch this space,” she said. “I don’t know how well it would go down, but if it’s a real success I would love to be able to talk about offering something else.”

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