‘active veterinary’ class at Concord’s Summer School

Tuesday August 20, 2019

Five dogs, a hedgehog and two snails all gave authenticity to an ‘Active Science’ lesson at Concord's Summer School last week. It was the first time the Summer School had offered active science with a veterinary lecture involving pets, and students of many different nationalities communicated in a single language – English. Lecturer Ryan Harley, a former Church Stretton School pupil who is now studying Veterinary Science at Nottingham University, tested the students on animal health. He said: “The focus was very much on dialogue and communication which required the students to search for words and questions they didn’t actually know. “Considering that this was their very first veterinary lesson involving live animals, they showed they were more than capable and proved to be very bright. “By asking questions and building a rapport with the owners and their pets, the students were able to find out individual problems which the whole class was later able to review. “They questioned the owners of the dogs, the hedgehog and the snails to establish whether there were any problems and came up with their own diagnosis based on simple observations and tests.” Previous practical sessions on the same summer course gave students as young as 12 an insight into animal heart, lung and liver dissections – which they afterwards described as ‘fascinating.’ They pumped up the lungs of sheep to see how the respiratory system worked and also learned the technique of a ‘hands on’ approach to identifying health problems in animals. Lavinia, 14, from Italy, and Carlotta, 16, from Spain, told how they would both like to become vets and how the veterinary lecture had given them an insight into the profession. Said Lavinia, who has completed five Summer Schools at Concord: “In addition to improving my English, I am sure I shall appreciate what I learnt in the veterinary lesson when I return home to my four month old cocker spaniel Hermes. “It was a lot fun.” Carlotta, also a pet lover, added: “We learnt how to treat animals well – how not to scare them or potentially hurt them during a consultation. I learnt a lot of things I didn’t know before and it was very nourishing.” In addition to Lavinia and Carlotta, the group comprised students from France, China, Nigeria, Latvia and Syria. Former Summer School Director John Leighton, who took along the family dog Bella, said: “It’s wonderful that students here are able to put into practice the things that they learn in theory lessons. This lesson has helped provide initial veterinary experience. “It’s good for students of different nationalities to interact and socialise – and for the pets too.”