In a French primary school with declining enrolment, fifteen sheep have been signed up as the latest recruits after parents feared falling pupil numbers would result in the Alps school closing.
The move came after the school in Crêts en Belledonne, a village at the foot of the Alps, was told one of its 11 classes would be closed after numbers fell from 266 to 261.
On Tuesday morning, a local herder and his dog came to school with some 50 sheep in tow, 15 of whom were “officially” registered after showing their birth certificates.
Added to register was a pupil called “Baa-bete” and another called “Saute-Mouton” – the sheepish equivalent of 'leapfrog' – in a comic ceremony watched by children, parents and teachers.
“Now we won't have to close any classes,” smiled Gaelle Laval, one of the parents behind the initiative, who accused the national education authority of being more concerned about numbers than about the children's welfare.