TCAF-Falconry-day-in-WalesPupils from Ysgol Pen y Bryn in Swansea had some unusual visitors to the classroom on Tuesday, when animals from the Pantglas World of Nature came into the school.

The Year 7 pupils have been studying woodlands over the past term, but despite having been on a number of school trips had not managed to spot many animals. So as part of a scheme funded by The Countryside Alliance Foundation (TCAF), Janet Barber of Pantglas brought five different types of owl; snails, cockroaches, a hedgehog and a rabbit to the children, as well as a number of wildlife-themed puppets.

The class was also joined by Assembly Member for Swansea East, Mike Hedges.

Teacher Eve Devlin said: “This term pupils have learnt about things that grow and live in the woodland. Any project that involves wildlife, poses difficulties in coming face-to-face with living creatures. For pupils with special educational needs, this is even more difficult. Our pupils benefit from real life hands-on experiences when learning about the world around them. Thanks to Janet and Rachel today, our pupils were exceptionally lucky to have our woodland project brought to life.

“Janet brought some beautiful owls for the pupils to see and touch. Alongside this she also bought a range of animals such as hedgehogs, cockroaches and African snails. The staff were also lucky enough to handle the gorgeous Amber, the Bengal Eagle Owl, who flew over the pupils heads. Janet was fantastic with our pupils, who have a range of additional learning needs. An amazing experience, one our pupils will not forget. We can’t thank the Countryside Alliance and Janet enough. We sincerely hope that other children also have an opportunity experience such a valuable educational opportunity.”

Rachel Evans, director of the Countryside Alliance in Wales, said: “To be able to take the countryside to the classroom was a vital contribution to the pupils’ learning. The reaction and diligent concentration of the pupils was a marker of how interested young children are in nature. It is essential that learning about the countryside is embedded in the curriculum. From little acorns mighty trees grow. Our youngsters are the future guardians of the countryside and we must nurture their enthusiasm.”