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Support for head teacher who introduced clay pigeon shooting to state school pupils

A head teacher has been praised for allowing pupils at an Eastbourne school to take part in a clay pigeon shoot as he warned that children will have “no experiences” if they are wrapped up in cotton wool.

Pupils at West Rise Junior School in Eastbourne were offered a day of extracurricular activities that included sessions on working with gun dogs, fly fishing, bird watching and clay pigeon shooting in order to learn about country life and the environment.

The children were coached by BASC instructors and given four shots each. They were taught about gun law, safety, use of guns in the countryside and the consequences of misusing guns. BASC spokesperson Simon Clarke said the day was organised with 100% support from parents.

And whilst some have criticised head teacher Mike Fairclough – labelling him a monster and saying the day encouraged animal abuse – the majority have spoken in support of his decision.

“The idea that I’ve got angry parents outside the school gates with pitchforks is ridiculous,” he said.

“It’s about trust. We trust independent school children everywhere to shoot at this age, so why do we not trust children at state-run schools?”

“Just because parents have more money, that does not mean the kids are any more reliable.”

Some anti-gun groups condemned the activity as dangerous. But BASC’s Clarke explained there was nothing dangerous about the day: “Everything was under supervision, everything was safe, everything was responsible and police approval was given for shooting on the land.”

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