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Pupils aww-struck by spiky hoglet

...while Cherry Canovan tracks down some children enriched by Science Week

"MY mum found a hedgehog in the back garden," Emily Forster confides. "It was poorly so she took it to the vet."

Emily and her Year 2 classmates are spending the morning discovering what happens to sick animals, as part of this year's Science Week.

On a visit to the RSPCA's Stapeley Grange wildlife hospital in South Cheshire, they peek at recuperating swans, geese and hedgehogs, hear how cans and plastic bags can harm animals. The highlight was a visit to the centre's cattery for rescued felines.

But the pupils of Wistaston Green nursery and infant school save their biggest "awws" for a picture of a baby hedgehog, or hoglet - a new word for both children and adults.

Margaret Taylor, their teacher, said: "Caring for our environment is an important message. Things such as pictures of birds tangled up in plastic will have made a real impact.

"We will be looking at linking literacy with science, by making posters and writing instructions on the topic."

The school, whose pupils come largely from a council estate, is one of 200 or more involved in enrichment activities as part of this year's Science Week.

Elsewhere, activities have included making rockets out of rubbish, panpipes out of drinking straws, and explosions out of kitchen ingredients.

But the week's organiser, the British Association, said a lot of children were still missing out - particularly those from less affluent areas, from ethnic minorities and in secondary schools.

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