Monkeying around was definitely on the timetable when the pupils from Brownedge St Mary’s Catholic High School in Bamber Bridge spent a weekend in Blackpool.
The year nine and 10 pupils swapped their classroom for the resort zoo as part of an outreach programme designed to support young people’s aspirations.
The ‘Future Zoo’ residential was organised by Future U, which creates opportunities for young people to increase rates of progression onto higher education.
Shadowing the zookeepers, they helped clean out enclosures and assisted with feeding the giraffes and zebras, while learning about endangered species and the importance of raising awareness of conservation.
An overnight stay at Fylde Coast Scout Hut enabled the teens to experience time away from home encouraging independence and teamwork.
Cat Sinclair, career lead at the Bamber Bridge school said: “A lot of our children might get to visit a zoo but they’d certainly never get to go behind the scenes, go into the enclosures and handle the animals.
It’s a fantastic opportunity. We’ve been working with Future U for over a year now and they are very supportive.”
Rebecca Reynolds, head of education, conservation and research at the zoo, added: “The combination of workshops, theory, practical and animal experiences is designed to inspire, enthuse and connect students with real wildlife and conservation stories and make it real for them.
Jessica Richmond, outreach officer at Future U, said: “This experience has offered pupils an incredible opportunity to learn and experience what a career at a zoo might entail, from zookeeping to conservation.”