Year Six pupils from Cuddington Croft Primary School in Cheam nearly found themselves at the heart of one of London’s biggest news stories of recent months when they paid a visit to London Zoo – just hours before a silverback gorilla smashed his way out of his cage and went on the run.
The group of 65 students were visiting the world-famous attraction in Regents Park as part of their studies about Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, so the gorilla enclosure was one of the first places on their checklist when they arrived.
There, they had a chance to study the animals’ behaviour, learn about their social structure and observe the physical changes the creatures have gone through as part of the evolutionary process.
Other highlights of the day included observing a family of tigers and their cubs, and also a display of birds of prey, where the pupils had a chance to observe some of the world’s most prized birds us close, as well as such popular favourites as meerkats and penguins.
“It was a hugely enjoyable and informative day out for the children,” said Year Six teacher and Cuddington’s assistant head Caroline Davis. “To have such a world class educational resource so close to hand is absolutely wonderful – getting to see the animals first-hand brought the children’s studies to life way beyond anything they could get from a printed page or a screen, so I know they will have benefitted from it enormously, as well has having had a great fun day out.”
The trip was another exciting outing for pupils from Cuddington, a member of the Surrey-based GLF Schools multi-academy trust, which runs more than a dozen schools across the south east of the country. In recent months Cuddington pupils have also been on a residential trip to the Hindleap Warren outdoor activity centre, and also Paris.
But it was events at London Zoo after the Cuddington pupils were safely back home that made the day a particularly memorable one.
“When we heard on the news about the gorilla escaping, it was incredible to think that just a few hours earlier, the Cuddington group had been there,” Ms Davis added. “People were advised to stay indoors for safety reasons, before the police came and shot the gorilla with a tranquiliser dart, and order was restored. Even though they didn’t get to see it happen, I think that’s one particular reason why this day out will live long in the memory!”.
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