teacher hounded out of school

Headteacher who slaughtered lamb reared by pupils is 'hounded out' of school

By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 3:39 PM on 10th February 2010

  • A headteacher has quit just months after angry parents and animal rights activists protested against her decision to slaughter a lamb hand-reared by pupils.

Andrea Charman is resigning from the village primary school in Lydd, Kent, for 'personal reasons'.

But friends claim she was 'bullied' and 'victimised' since the storm over slaughtering Marcus, a six-month-old lamb, made headlines all over the world last September.

 
Andrea Charman

Resigned: Headteacher Andrea Charman has quit after she was 'hounded by angry parents and activists over a decision to slaughter a lamb reared by pupils'

After some parents protested outside the school, outraged animal lovers from around the world vented their displeasure.

They besieged newspapers, radio stations and websites calling for the headmistress to abandon plans to turn Marcus, or rather his meat, into a school raffle prize.

Among them were comedian Paul O'Grady who is said to have offered to give Marcus a new home on his own farm.

Animal lovers and rescue centres were also lining up to take him in.

Threats against Mrs Charman were made on a 'Save Marcus' Facebook page, even though the decision to kill the animal was taken following a vote by the children's school council.

There was no suggestion that any of the mothers behind the demonstrations had anything to do with the threats.

 

Marcus was one of three lambs cared for at a farm set up by the head when she joined the primary last January as part of a project to teach pupils where food comes from.

Rabbits, guinea pigs, cockerels and ducks are also kept on the farm, while the lambs were bottle-fed by the children and taken into assembly.

 
Marcus the sheep

Slaughtered: Marcus the sheep's death outraged animal rights activists

The school council, made up of 14 pupils aged from seven to 11 years old, voted 13-to-one in favour of sending Marcus to slaughter rather than keeping him.

One angry parent, Jo Davis, said it was a 'disgrace' that the sheep fed by hand by her eight-year-old daughter Megan was to be slaughtered and sold.

She said: 'I feel this is the same as my daughter coming home from school to find her pet rabbit bubbling away on the stove in a stew.

'My daughter was told it was no different to buying lamb from the supermarket. I really don't think this is the same thing.'

Mrs Charman said she wanted to teach the children about the food chain and the local economy.

She said: 'When they are 15, or when they are 20, they are not going to remember what they got in their Sats when they were 11 years old.

'But they will remember they had a farm and that they made decisions.'

 
 

Kent County Council today confirmed that Mrs Charman 'will be stepping down at the end of the week'.

A spokesman said: 'Andrea Charman has decided to leave the school for personal reasons.

'The governing body would like to thank Mrs Charman for all her hard work during her time at the school.'

Education councillor Sarah Hohler said: 'I have visited the school and seen first hand the excellent work of the whole staff team, and the leadership qualities of Mrs Charman.

'The school has been subject to intrusive media attention and there continues to be calls, by a small minority of individuals across the world, for Mrs Charman to leave teaching.

'We are very sorry to see her leave.'

The school will be led by an advisory headteacher, Penny Haynes, from 22 February.


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