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08 March 2012

Children who have never seen a chicken before want to house some at their school
The pupils at Waterside Primary are planning to expand their fledgling vegetable patch, build a chicken run and create a mini-beast area.

The school in Eastwood Road, Hanley, opened in 2007 and many of the 200 pupils have no experience of animal care.

Amanda Flannigan, eco co-ordinator and class four teacher, said: "This project has been offered to the children to come up with ideas and they want chickens.

"It would be perfect for our pupils to learn about animal care: living in the inner city many of them have no access to wildlife or countryside."

The pupils are already planning a competition to name the chickens and want to use the eggs at the school's breakfast club and sell them to staff.

The chicken project is being run by the school's eco council which is made up of two children from each of the six years in the school.

And they are drawing up plans to buy six chickens to be located at the back of the school near the vegetable patch, which they have just planted this year with cucumbers, cabbages and cauliflowers.

The school has entered The Sentinel's Class Act competition, which is being sponsored by Barclays Money Skills.

Chairman of the eco council Tonima Islam, aged 10, said: "I helped to paint the shed and I think it would make a big difference to have the chickens. I've never seen any chickens or animals in real life so I'd like to learn how to look after them.

"We could take turns to collect the eggs in the morning and put names in a hat to decide what to call them."

Nicola Craggs, school governor and eco council member, said: "We have a wind turbine, grey water system and solar panels at the school, so the vegetable patch and chickens are a further extension of this eco-friendly ethos.

"At the moment the children check the temperature in each classroom, the turbine power generated and recycling levels within the school every day. They keep records of which classes don't turn off the lights when they leave a room.

"They are ecstatic about the idea of keeping chickens and are researching how to look after them and planning how to sell the eggs. And they've picked a nice quiet place for the chicken run at the back of the school, furthest away from all the noise of the playground."

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