If the pupils at Roedean needed proof that spring was finally here, the arrival of the school’s first ever lambs Gruffalo and Sox should reassure them.
The twins, one black one white, were born on the school’s farm on Friday afternoon, with three more expected in the coming days.
This the first time that the school, which has 17 sheep and five goats and 15 chickens, has turned its hand to breeding.
The idea for the farm was dreamt up three years ago by headmaster Oliver Blond to introduce the girls to animal husbandry and better understanding of farm life.
Farm prefects are appointed and, along with head of experiential learning and experienced shepherd Leland Fieldsend, they have overseen the care of the lambs’ mother Baby J along with the other farm animals.
As part of the pupils’ weekly curriculum, they can choose from a range of lessons and activities during their Head Hand Heart (HHH) period, many of them choose to work on the farm.
As luck would have it, the lambs were born right in the middle of activity period so the farm prefect where on hand to witness it.
Farm prefect Millie Hoffman, 13, whose mum Bronwyn Eastwood is the farm vet, was there to witness the lambs’ birth. She said: “I was intrigued to see them being born – it was fascinating. It was over so quickly – they were both born in 50 minutes. Their natural instincts, getting up and walking so soon after being born, were amazing and its lovely to see the results of a five-month long process which we have all been involved in. I feel really lucky to have been there and have learnt so much.”
Mr Fieldsend added: “There are loads of activities the girls can do as part of their HHH and the farm option is really popular. They can get outside here on the South Downs, learn about everything from animal husbandry to biodiversity and food security and really get to know the animals. This is the first time we have lambed and it’s proving to be incredibly popular! I’m also sure they are going to be a big hit with the primary school children from Deepdene, St Mark’s CE and Downs School who visit the farm regularly.”