Pupils at Lathallan School have four unusual new friends – alpacas.
The new arrivals, Fluffy, Macapaca, Popcorn and Marmalade, are the latest to join the boarding school’s animal gang, as part of efforts to promote outdoor learning.
Pupils at the school, near Johnshaven, will help to feed, wash and care for the alpacas.
Headmaster of Lathallan School, Richard Toley, said: “We are continuously evolving our outdoor learning opportunities, to ensure our school experience is extraordinary and stimulating for all our pupils.
“The alpacas are a welcome addition to our school farm which actively teaches pupils in a direct, hands-on way about animal care, conservation and sustainability.
“As a school we strive to educate our pupils to appreciate and respect the environment, to leave people and places better than they find them.
“I lead classes through the learning with our school alpacas.
“This regular interaction with pupils in a relaxed outdoor environment, gives me a greater working knowledge of pupils’ individual needs, and a better understanding of their progress.”
And the pupils, who named the alpacas themselves, are delighted about the new arrivals.
Paige Milne, a junior pupil, said: “I just can’t believe we have our own alpacas at school.
“My favourite is Macapaca as she’s really friendly and her fleece is so soft.”
Mental health benefits
Lathallan’s head of pastoral care, Len Wiltshire, said: “The mental health benefits of interacting with animals are well known and there is considerable research that shows that alpacas make great therapets.
“Our newest additions have the potential to contribute to the wellbeing of our school community in a very real sense.
“Having the opportunity to care for and spend time with these animals is encouraging our pupils to appreciate the influence that such positive interactions can have on their own mental health and that of others.”