Pupils at Bowthorpe school inspired by arrival of circus

Pupils at Clover Hill Infant School in Norwich try their hand at circus skills including tight rope

Pupils at Clover Hill Infant School in Norwich try their hand at circus skills including tight rope walking during a workshop held by Circus Ferrel at the school. Photograph Simon Parker - Credit: Archant

Roll up, roll up, the circus is in town – or, more accurately, on the school field.

Pupils at Clover Hill Infant School, in Bowthorpe, have been trying their hand at juggling, tight-rope walking and plate spinning.

The week of circus skills culminates with a series of shows alongside seasoned performers and in front of their friends and family.

The workshops, in a yellow and blue Big Top in the middle of the school field, have launched the theme for the primary school's lessons this half term.

Youngsters will use the circus to inspire them in classes from maths and science to English and history.


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As pupils from all years took part in masterclasses with performers from Circus Ferrel, headteacher Helen Newell said: 'All our writing and problem solving is done through these real-life experiences.

'The circus is in our school. It's like it's suddenly landed on the school field.'

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The workshops have seen pupils from both Clover Hill Infant and St Michael's Junior schools learning skills including juggling, hula hooping, tight-rope walking, plate spinning.

Any pupil who wants has then had the chance to perform with Circus Ferrel during shows in front of friends and family. The final performance takes place today.

Year two pupils Georgia Woodgate, Bradley Wilson, Hayden Freeman, and Lama Almjed had their workshops on Wednesday. They all agreed it was 'really fun'.

Hayden, seven, said: 'I'm really good at juggling. Only with two balls, though, I'm not very good with three.

'I was amazing.'

Bradley, also seven, added: 'I was better.'

Mrs Newell said each time she saw children taking part in a workshop they were 'fully engrossed' and enjoying themselves.

'Some are surprising themselves by realising they're not bad at juggling or plate spinning,' she said.

Circus Ferrel offers its workshops to schools for free and funds them through ticket sales for the performances at the end of the week.

The shows are open to the whole community and Mrs Newell said she was expecting a good turn out.

Marty Ferrel, the circus' clown, said the children would leave with new skills, boosted confidence and a sense of achievement.

He added: 'The big thing they will get out of it is that school is fun. It's given them a big boost in their day-to-day school life, in lessons, for a long time – not just the week we are here. They remember it – the buzz of coming in and seeing a circus on the playing field.'

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