Caretaker at Holbrook Academy becomes surrogate father to 12 adorable ducklings

Return of a duck family to Holbrook Academy. Students are excited to see them develop. Teacher Frank

Return of a duck family to Holbrook Academy. Students are excited to see them develop. Teacher Frank Anstee-Parry introducing some students to the chicks. - Credit: Gregg Brown

A Suffolk school has welcomed the return of one of its most popular guests – a doting duck and its adorable ducklings.

Return of a duck family to Holbrook Academy. Students are excited to see them develop.

Return of a duck family to Holbrook Academy. Students are excited to see them develop. - Credit: Gregg Brown

The surprise visitor at Holbrook Academy first made herself welcome in March last year when she nested in the science garden.

Taking to the uninterrupted surroundings of the garden, the friendly fowl and the progress of her offspring soon became the talk of the school, with six ducklings hatching in April.

After flying the nest when they had matured, many at the school expected the story to be over.

But surprised pupils and staff were stunned to find the same duck had returned to nest in exactly the same place as last year – this time with 12 eggs.

Return of a duck family to Holbrook Academy. Students are excited to see them develop.

Return of a duck family to Holbrook Academy. Students are excited to see them develop. - Credit: Gregg Brown


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Dr Simon Letman, headteacher at the academy said: “She came back and made the nest and has been with us for the last week and a half.

“The kids absolutely love it –all the lads and girls keep saying how sweet it is.”

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While the school has been eagerly watching the family’s progress after all 12 hatched, the group has been left undisturbed while they are in residence.

“Our caretaker Terry Whiting feeds them every day – he has become like their surrogate father – and they have a water feature where they can practise their swimming,” Dr Letman said.

“Just like the kids here they will fly away with all the life skills they need to be successful in the world.”

Dr Letman believes the wild, undisturbed nature of the garden means it is a safe place for the duck to come – and the school is already expecting a return next year.

Dr Letman added: “The thing with ducks is they will keep on coming back and we will ready the garden for them next year.”

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