Husbandry pupils 'in tears' at unit chop

A local school has defended a controversial decision to axe its award-winning animal husbandry unit. It was only last summer that Archbishop Sancroft High School, in Harleston, celebrated the opening of the upgraded and improved animal house, after governors, parents and teachers teamed up to carry out the refurbishment.

A local school has defended a controversial decision to axe its award-winning animal husbandry unit.

It was only last summer that Archbishop Sancroft High School, in Harleston, celebrated the opening of the upgraded and improved animal house, after governors, parents and teachers teamed up to carry out the refurbishment.

Run by teacher John Beckett, the facility enabled students to learn about animal husbandry and livestock management by caring for four breeds of poultry, including the rare Norfolk Grey. And children were said to be in tears when head teacher Richard Cranmer announced at the end of last week, that the animal house was to close.

A parent, who declined to be named, said: “It was completely out of the blue and my child is very upset. The animal house has won awards at the Norfolk Poultry Show and a lot of children are involved in it. I shall be writing to the school head personally, and I understand a few others will as well.


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“Basically he said because they have got science status it would be more viable to use the animal house for that purpose. I can't see that they need a little shed as well as the other facilities, and when prospective parents and kids were showed around the school a few weeks ago they showed them and the kids the animal house to get them interested.”

Mr Cranmer and John Rudge, the school's chairman of governors, said in a joint statement issued Tuesday that the governors were concerned the present use of the building does not sufficiently benefit the education of the whole school community. And their intention is that it should, after refurbishment, become part of the educational programme associated with the school's new specialist science college status.

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“A small number of students at the school have from time to time helped with the care and welfare of the birds, in their spare time, and the governors are aware of the commitment they have given to this and conscious that some students will be disappointed they will no longer be able to help in this way. The governors also acknowledge the time, effort and hard work Mr Beckett has put into this venture over a number of years,” they also stated.

The current use of the building will cease at the end of this term.

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