Published: 10 March, 2011
by JOSIE HINTON
WAS it an ostrich? A heron? Or even a flying dinosaur?
These were some of the questions from pupils at Gospel Oak primary on Monday when they arrived to find a giant nest had mysteriously appeared on their school roof.
Made of large twigs and branches, the empty nest left no indication of what kind of creature had made it.
“It must have been something huge – a bird or another animal with very sharp teeth,” said Ellie Lewy Sharp, eight. “The twigs are very big, and they have been cut by something sharp.”
Pearl Parker, six, added: “I think it was built by a flamingo who escaped from the zoo, or a swan from the Heath.”
Staff alerted the police and two officers arrived on horseback to cordon off the area. By Tuesday, two unusually large eggs had appeared in the nest and the school called in the Fire Brigade to have a look.
Pulling into the playground in their engine, firefighters used their ladders to mount the roof and used thermal technology to detect heat in the eggs.
The school was also visited by officials from Hampstead Heath, staff from Kentish Town City Farm and the Natural History Museum.
The strange events at Gospel Oak coincided with the schools Literacy Week. Teachers abandoned their usual lessons so children could explore the mysterious appearance through writing.
Headteacher Alan Seymour said: “Improving literacy through reading and writing is my priority for Gospel Oak school this year. We are keen that our children develop excellent skills so they are well-prepared for today’s world. This week is Literacy Week, so teachers will be using the arrival of the mysterious nest to boost pupils’ enjoyment of writing, and their achievements.”
Some children took on the role of journalists, writing news reports, while others wrote letters to London Zoo in a bid to trace the creature.
• The mysterious happenings at Gospel Oak Primary School have been organised by teachers as part of a week-long literacy event.
The Police, Fire Brigade and other officials all supported the school during Literacy Week towards its goal of raising achievement and enjoyment of writing.
Literacy co-ordinator Cat Burks said: “We wanted to do something that we have never done to really inspire the children’s imaginations.”