Page last updated at 07:14 GMT, Wednesday, 4 June 2008 08:14 UK

Pigeons make pupils high flyers

Racing pigeons are helping pupils on Tyneside sharpen their numeracy and literacy skills.

More than 170 pupils at Gateshead's St Agnes' primary School in Crawcrook, Gateshead, have adopted birds from a local loft to help them in lessons.

The youngsters study flight paths, plot wind speeds and check the progress of races on the internet.

School bosses also say recent SAT tests showed writing about the birds had helped to improve literacy skills.

Each class has its own adopted pigeon, which they have been allowed to name.


Pupils in Tyneside explain how racing pigeons are helping them in lessons

Head teacher Lynn Hudson said: "The children have really embraced the pigeons and taken them to their hearts.

"They follow their progress in races avidly and it has really helped to focus their studies.

"During our recent SATS, Year 2 pupils were asked to write about something interesting that had happened during the year. More than 50% wrote about our pigeons.

"This just shows how much impact the initiative has had in a very short space of time."

Catherine Donovan, Gateshead Council's cabinet member for children and young people, added: "A fundamental part of education is to engage students so that learning becomes fun and interesting.

"It is clear that St Agnes' has identified a great way to accomplish this and I am sure the children will reap the rewards for years to come."

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