Earlham: Families get to p-p-p paint a penguin

Sam EmanuelA waddle of painted penguins descended on a Norwich high school as a family fun day attracted a record crowd.Sam Emanuel

A waddle of painted penguins descended on a Norwich high school as a family fun day attracted a record crowd.

More than 580 parents and children turned up at City Academy Norwich on Saturday for the once-a-term event, which has been running for five years at the academy and its predecessor, Earlham High.

The highlight of the day was an exhibition of life-sized emperor penguins, which were decorated by families in 10 local schools as part of a partnership project.

Hundreds of people contributed to the project and Saturday was the first time the birds were seen together.

There were also activities, games, stalls and competitions throughout the event, which ran from 11am-3pm at the Earlham Road academy.

Rosemary Linley, the academy's extended schools development worker, said: 'We run family activity sessions at City Academy Norwich every term to engage students and families, reinforce family relationships, get them spending leisure time together and get them comfortable with coming into the school.

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'Saturday was record breaking, with 580 people. We open it up to every family in the area from all of our feeder schools. It's a real community event. The attraction on this occasion was the penguins, which were very popular.'

Ms Linley added: 'It was brilliant to see so many people there and having fun. People are getting used to these events and are now saying 'when is the next one?' We are getting more people here every time.'

She said every school had a 'naked' penguin to decorate, and were encouraged to think of a number of themes, including penguins as good parents, global warming and the school community.

One penguin was left undecorated and was painted by families on Saturday at the academy.

All of the birds, part of a wider Norwich Learning City project, will be on display at The Forum in the city centre from April 2-9.