Resources

* The RSPCA (enquiries service), Wilberforce Way, Southwater, Horsham, West Sussex RH13 9RS (www.rspca.org.uk has links to local offices). Tel: 0870 333 5999. A team of 60 staff runs an extensive education programme, can arrange visits to wildlife hospitals and animal centres, and provide a range of work packs, books, videos, and so on.

* Society for Companion Animal Studies (SCAS), 10b Leny Road, Callander, Perthshire FK17 8BA (www.scas.org.uk). Telfax: 01877 330996. Email: Info@scas.org.uk. This group, keen to promote animals in schools, has produced an excellent booklet giving advice and outlining the benefits of pets for children.

* National Pet Week (usually in May) Floss Slade, PO Box 310, Pinner, Middlesex HA5 4XU (www.nationalpetweek.org.uk). Telfax: 020 8428 7369. Email: Info@nationalpetweek.org. Its excellent website includes ideas for animal-based lessons and worksheets to download.

* The Warriner School Farm, Bloxham, Banbury OX15 4LJ (www.warriner.oxon.sch.ukfarm). Tel: 01295 720777. Email: warrinerfarm@rmplc.co.uk.

* National Association of Farms for Schools (www.farmsforschools.org.uk). Tel: 01422 882708. Helps organise school visits to farms. The website has an on-line directory to find suitable farms in your area.

* Pet Bereavement Support Service helpline 0800 096 6606. SCAS also publishes a book Death of an Animal Friend to help youngsters cope with the loss of a pet (see address above).

* Hundreds of websites are dedicated to advice on caring for pets. They include: www.petwebsite.com.

www.guineapigs.org.uk.

www.hamsters.co.uk.

www.petrabbits.co.uk.

www.miceandrats.com.

www.ex.ac.ukbugclub - click on "bugpets" for advice on keeping cockroaches, stick insects, beetles, and so on.

* Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens, The Green House, Hereford Street, Bristol BS3 4NA (www.cityfarm.org.uk). Tel: 0117 923 1800.

* Farms for City Children is a charity set up 25 years ago by children's author Michael Morpurgo and his wife Clare, which offers subsidised residential visits for 3,000 inner-city pupils a year to share in the working life of its organic farms in Wales, Gloucestershire and North Devon. See www.farmsforcitychildren.co.uk; e-mail ffcc@nethercott-house.freeserve.co.uk; tel: 01837 810785.

* Living Biology in Schools, by Michael Reiss (Institute of Biology, www.iob.org, pound;12.50), ideas on using live animals in the biology curriculum.

* Most bookshops and petshops have a wide range of books. Here are some of the more popular titles. The Really Useful Guinea Pig Guide, by Myra Mahoney (Kingdom Books, pound;4.95); How to Look After Your Pet Rabbit, by Mark Evans (Dorling Kindersley, pound;4.99); Gerbils: a complete pet owner's manual, by Raymond Gudas (Barrons Educational Series, pound;4.50); You and Your Aquarium, by Dick Mills (Dorling Kindersley, pound;9.99).

* For ideas on using live animals in the biology curriculum try Living Biology in Schools, by Michael Reiss, (The Institute of Biology, www.iob.org, pound;12.50).

A full list of resources on school pets is available at www.tes.co.uk

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