The children on the playing field compete for space with the goats and dogs who daily roam their school grounds. The stray animals, rummaging for food are unperturbed by the squeals of joy and the trampling of running feet.
The Clarendon-based Effort-ville Primary School sits on approximately two acres of land, but with most of the perimeter fencing either broken away or having huge holes, animals as well as undesirable individuals have easy access to the compound.
Acting Principal Dwyneth Blackwood complains that, "the school yard cannot be properly kept clean as the dogs constantly scavenge the trash cans and then litter the premises with the garbage."
When our news team visited the school last week goats could be seen roaming the premises like any student, the only difference is the goats left a mess around the compound.
"All the plants that were there goats eat them off, so right through the day we have goats and we have dogs on the compound while school is in session," lamented Blackwood.
She said the children would chase the animals off the compound sometimes hurting them in the process, which lead to complaints from the owners of these animals.
"Yet they would never put the animals away."
According to Blackwood the absence of a proper perimeter fence is a real challenge.
"The fence hampers us so much. We can't have a fun day to raise money because people will just find a hole or a spot and come right in."
The easy access is also a security concern.
"Many times when the children get into squabbles with each other, they run home for their parents who come ranting and raving into the school yard with the ease of entrance wanting to 'discipline' the other child," said Blackwood who noted that there is also the issue of mentally ill persons wandering on to the school compound.
Environmental coordinator at the school Natalie Falconer says apart from the health issues arising from the school being constantly littered with garbage she is considering withdrawing the school from the National Solid Waste Management Authority's Environmental Schools Com-petition even though they are the defending champions.
"It makes no sense to be in the competition and we cannot monitor our surroundings and keep our environment clean because of the animals," bemoaned Falconer.