Children at St Petroc’s School, Bude were treated to a visit from Falconry for Schools on Tuesday (8 May). Our instructor Sharon Bindon brought along five birds to meet the pupils; an American kestrel, a common English buzzard, a little owl, a barn owl and a goshawk.

The school wrote up a report of their day for us, which reads : “Sharon began the day with some introductions and useful facts about each of the bird’s unique qualities; some were rescue birds requiring a little extra love and attention, others were more bossy and vocal and some were very shy. The pupils were thrilled to find out more about the birds’ personalities and traits and used their new knowledge to write a detailed fact file on their favourite bird.

“After lunch, Key Stage 2 took part in an in-depth science lesson, classifying the different types of birds of prey and their subtle differences; owls, hawks and falcons just to name a few. The children also learned about each of their separate anatomical features, which gave clues as to which type of bird they were and challenged them to identify the different types of birds from their pictures, using their newly acquired classification skills.

“Perhaps the information that was most pertinent to the day were the shocking figures surrounding the barn owl population in the UK. With only 200 breeding pairs left in the UK the St Petroc’s children were shocked to learn the reasons behind their decline. Always keen to help the environment, the ‘Petrocians’ have pledged to site an owl box on the school grounds, with a web cam to try to help the barn owl’s plight and hope for some inhabitants to study further.”

The science teacher Tom Fox added: “We’re incredibly proud of our pupils’ ability to create real-life outcomes from their learning and we look forward to undertaking this latest project, following on from our recent success with outdoor learning and Plastic awareness.

“To have an expert in her field, supported by The Countryside Alliance, visit and inspire the children, just goes to show what we are about here. We want to help the future guardians of our environment and that would be absolutely impossible without workshops like these.”

St Petroc’s School prides itself on offering its pupils as many hands-on opportunities and ‘real life outcomes’ as possible.

Head teacher Ben Hilton said: “A visit from Falconry for Schools is better than any props or You-Tube clip, whiteboard presentation or film. It’s so easy in our risk averse society for this sort of hands-on experience to fall of the curriculum. I wish every school in the land could have a visit from Falconry for Schools.”