15th June 2007 at 01:00
More than 5,000 school children are expected to visit this year's Royal Highland Show which opens at Ingliston, near Edinburgh, next Thursday.

Most groups will spend some of their time in the Royal Highland Education Trust centre, where the theme for this year's activities is "Healthy Inputs - Healthy Outputs". Visitors can take part in a wide range of discovery sessions including where food plants come from, how to make bread and - one that TV nutritionist Gillian McKeith would surely approve of - how to make the perfect poo.

Elsewhere in the show ground, school groups can watch sheep dogs "herding"

live ducks in a demonstration called "Quack Commandoes"; take part in a cow trail to win a trip in a hot air balloon and have a go at rowing a dingy around the Ingliston pond.

The real stars of the Royal Highland Show are, of course, the animals and, as usual, there will be hundreds of the country's finest cattle, sheep, horses and other livestock on parade.

According to Alison Motion, the teacher who has recently taken over as RHET's manager, school groups attending the show range from five in a car to 160-odds in coaches.

"Of the 200 or so schools who attend each year, there's a fairly even split between primary and secondary as well as SEN groups. It's seen as a treat with lots of schools using the trip as an incentive for pupils to behave well."

Schools are not obliged to book through the Royal Highland Education Trust but those who don't, miss out on free entry, education packs, an orientation tour and other benefits.

Royal Highland Education Trust T 0131 335 6227 www.rhet.org.uk

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