EX-CIRCUS performer Peter Welton used to juggle, unicycle and stilt-walk for a living. Now he uses the skills from the big top to help the learning of special educational needs pupils as a full-time teacher.
Mr Welton, who teaches 16 to 19-year-olds at Ysgol Heol Goffa, a special school in Llanelli, west Wales, actively encourages his pupils to participate in his well-rehearsed circus stunts in the classroom. He also works towards putting on shows for fellow staff, pupils and parents.
Mr Welton says his lessons help special needs pupils to develop their motor skills and dexterity, and believes teaching is mostly about "being a good entertainer".
"He says: "Pupils can set their own goals. With juggling, everyone starts on an equal basis."
Mr Welton performed with a community-based circus in North Wales but decided to go into teaching full-time after enjoying visits to schools. His unusual classroom acts are actively encouraged by head Phil Newell, who says: "Peter is using his skills as an innovative teaching aid. After all, different teaching methods add to diversity of talent in the school."
Mr Welton also says his "wacky" teaching methods have helped to develop the curriculum.