Roll up! Roll up! Big Top in town as primary school pupils clown around

Barnham Primary School children trying out their circus skills when Circus Ferrel visits. Trying out

Barnham Primary School children trying out their circus skills when Circus Ferrel visits. Trying out the juggling scarves are (l-r) Evie Arnold, Millie Dolman and Alice Parker. - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2015

The Big Top came to town at a primary school this week as pupils got to clown around to kick off a new term theme.

More than 140 children had a go at spinning plates, walking a tightrope and spinning the diablo on Thursday as Circus Ferrel visited Barnham Primary School.

The circus is visiting the village for three shows, with its colourful Big Top set up next to the school, by the village hall.

And 'The Circus' is the school's theme for the summer term, with children having the chance to learn about an English institution.

Amy Arnold, headteacher, said the clowns and performers who visited had made for a 'day of laughter' at the school.

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'We'd kept the visit a secret up until this week, because we knew the Big Top would be set up on Wednesday.

'The children were just so excited when we told them, and they've been so enthused and engaged with the activities,' she said.

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After taking part in workshops which included circus staples such as spinning plates and learning to use the poi - swinging tethered weights to make patterns - the pupils then had a chance to write about their experiences.

Mrs Arnold said it was the first of many learning opportunities that the topic would provide.

'The piece they wrote was on 'the day the circus came to school' and it was a lovely piece of descriptive writing for them to get their teeth into.

'During the term they'll have plenty of opportunities to practice their skills for hand-eye coordination, there's teamwork involved and it puts their learning in a context.

'Most importantly, they are having fun which makes it immersive, and we hope they'll always remember the circus coming here,' she said.

Pupils who were going to the circus' shows on Thursday and Friday were also given an extra treat, with the chance to take part in the ring with the performers.

Have you got a special event or project happening at your school? Email education correspondent, Martin George, on

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