ASPIRING farmers from a Wirral school have learned how to artificially inseminate pigs in order to help save a rare breed.

Eight students from the Co-op Academy Bebington travelled to Harper Adams Agricultural University in Shropshire to learn how to artificial inseminate the Large Whites, that live on the school farm.

The students, members of the Farm Club that meets every day after school, then put their newly acquired skills into practice to ensure the survival of Large Whites which are on the Rare Breeds Survival Trust’s Watch List.

Blackberry one of two Large Whites that have been on the farm for three years recently gave birth to 10 healthy piglets.

The students also help to look after the other animals on the farm including goats, hens, chickens and turkeys.

Sarah Mallinder, the farm technician, said: "It's very 'hands on'.

"Students learn the AI technique, put it into practice and then study all the husbandry involved in caring for the piglets.

"This would not have been possible without the support of the Junior Pig Club, an offshoot of the Pig Association, which works in schools and provided us with the two sows."

Catherine Kelly, headteacher at the Co-op Academy Bebington, said that the farm is just one of the aspects that makes Bebington different from other schools in the area.

"Our students get so much from working on the farm and caring for the animals as it gives them important life skills and helps instil a great deal of confidence.

"It is wonderful to think that their working is helping to ensure the future of Large Whites."