In September Woodchurch High School launched a two year diploma in environmental and land based studies and from 2012 they will also offer a GCSE in environment and land-based science and BTEC in animal care.
To help bring the lessons alive, the school have enlisted a flock of sheep consisting of two rams, and five pregnant ewes.
The North Ronaldsay flock – a rare breed originating from the Orkney Islands – arrived in December and will make its lessons as hands-on as possible as students must care for the sheep, which are based on grassland within the front of the school grounds.
Two pigs are set to arrive in May and will join the school’s small holding which includes an orchard, chickens, sheep and reptile collection. Students volunteer every morning to feed, put out hay, and water the sheep and check on their welfare.
They will also help sheer the sheep and clip their hooves. The wool is used by textile students and the sheep, like the other animals, are also used to inspire everything from maths, and creative writing to art.
Staff are also getting involved and check on the sheep at weekends.