Youngsters clown around as circus comes to school

14/6/12   RS''Red Barn Primary School in Portchester had a circus visit the school, the pupils learn tricks to perform at a show in the big top. Pictured are the plate spinners L-R  Amy Doswell 6 , Ben Gray 5'''Picture: Paul Jacobs (122028-2)

14/6/12 RS''Red Barn Primary School in Portchester had a circus visit the school, the pupils learn tricks to perform at a show in the big top. Pictured are the plate spinners L-R Amy Doswell 6 , Ben Gray 5'''Picture: Paul Jacobs (122028-2)

From left, deputy head girl Sayeeda Nur, Head Girl, Genevieve Wilks, Justin Heath from The Haven, with deputy head girls Esther Pilling and Rosie Tredray

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YOU weren’t seeing things if you spotted a huge circus tent in the fields of Red Barn Primary School.

For lucky children at the Portchester school have been practising their circus skills as part of a unique scheme.

It was awarded £9,500 from a National Lottery grant to allow Cirque Normandie to pitch the circus tent in the school field for a week.

As part of the Circus for Schools scheme, children learnt skills which they showed off in a one-off performance yesterday.

Around 50 children were picked to take part. They have been learning tightrope walking, juggling and gymnastics as part of their performance.

Deputy headteacher at the school, Sam Way, said: ‘The children have been very excited for weeks.

‘It’s a really good opportunity for the children to shine.

‘It’s giving them a different setting. We do a lot of outdoor learning here.

‘Learning isn’t just about sitting at a desk.

‘It’s about all aspects of life.

‘We want children to be excited and passionate about learning.’

Children at the school said they were thrilled to have been chosen to take part.

Thomas Hughes, seven, said: ‘It’s a great experience because some of us have never been to see a performance and now we are getting to be in one.’

William Doswell, 9, said: ‘It’s amazing.

‘It’s a little bit scary because there’s a performance.’

Dean Gallagher, 11, added: ‘It’s good to be involved in the circus.

‘I was doing circus skills for a long time and this is my chance to show them off.’

And Pearl Harkin, 10, said: ‘It’s fun.

‘It helps take away my nerves about performing in front of lots of people because I get stagefright sometimes.’

Co-owner of Cirque Normandie Ed Meredith said it was ‘a great experience for the kids’.

‘It gives them confidence, team building, sharing and problem solving. There are a lot of benefits,’ he said.

‘We have been told after we’ve left that their work improves.

‘They start to be more attentive in class.

‘It’s something they will remember for the rest of their lives.’

Professional performers will perform two circus shows at the school at 4pm and 7.30pm today.

Tickets are £6 each and under-three’s go free. They can be bought on the door.

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