Fifteen sheep have been registered at a French primary school as part of a novel bid to save classes at risk of closure.
Jules-Ferry in Crets en Belledonne, a small town of less than 4,000 people at the foot of the Alps, had been told that it would have to scale back its lessons because of falling pupil numbers.
There are only 261 children at the school – but now they have been joined by more than a dozen sheep in a symbolic move to tackle what parents have described as a “miserable situation”.
The farm animals were provided by a local herder, Michel Girerd, who with the help of his dog escorted the new pupils along to the school to see them officially signed up with their birth certificates.
Among the names added to the register during a ceremony watched by parents, teachers and children were Baa-bete and Saute-Mouton.
Gaelle Laval, one of the parents behind the initiative, told Le Parisien newspaper: “National education is unfortunately only numbers. And so now, with this surge in numbers, we are good.”
The school currently has 11 classes, and Ms Laval is against a proposal to scale back to 10 as it would mean the average number of students in each rises from 24 to 26.
That would put them above the recommended limit that French President Emmanuel Macron promised to impose as part of his education policy.
Local mayor Jean-Louis Maret has provided a boost to the campaign by officially recognising the schooling of the sheep, whom the children appeared very excited to meet upon their arrival.
It has not been revealed what the sheep will be studying, but Sky News understands it could include m-ewe-sic.
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