CHILDREN at Belbroughton CofE Primary School returned from their summer holidays last week to discover that an overgrown patch of land on the school grounds had been transformed into a pet garden.

Staff from Barnett Hill Garden Centre supplied several thousand pounds worth of labour and materials to clear and level the ground, before turfing it over, and installing animal housing.

They also supplied bedding and food for the school’s animals, as well as preparing another space in the grounds , ready to grow vegetables.

Parents, James and Lisa Joyce have bought and donated three chickens, a rabbit and two guinea pigs to the school, so that the children can have the experience of taking care of animals.

Headteacher Derek Higgins, said: “The introduction of pets will enable us to develop the curriculum in a new and exciting way. Our aim is to promote good practice in animal welfare and encourage children to take shared responsibility for the care of the animals.”

Nick Walton, manager at Barnett Hill, added: “Barnett Hill wanted to make a valuable and sustainable contribution to a local school. Belbroughton sought our support to promote animal husbandry, working outside and to ‘grow your own’, we were only too pleased to encourage them in this and provide them with the resources to do so.”

The garden is the culmination of 12 months of hard work during which the school has undergone major development, funded by the school’s PTA and private sponsorship.