EDUCATION secretary Ed Balls has called on primary schools to allocate places to baby chickens in a bid to improve results.
As recent research showed that week-old poultry have a better grasp of arithmetic than 75% of Britain's eight year-olds, Mr Balls said it was time to give tiny chicks full access to the state education system.
He said: "We must never forget the most important part of our education system is the targets I set based on the next Labour manifesto.
"If tiny chicks do the job then great, but I'm happy to use pigs, lizards, stoats, it doesn't matter as long as the fuckers can count to three."
Mr Balls added: "Chick enrolment will also reduce the cost of new school buildings as, by my reckoning, we can cram at least 800 of them into a filing cabinet.
"And it means we could sell off the rest of the playing fields, given that baby chickens have little or no interest in PE."
A pilot scheme will be launched after the Easter break when more than 4000 hatchlings will be delivered to Crays Hill primary school in Essex in a bid to push them up the league table.
The local education authority hopes the birds will help to deliver a 'B' grade average for the school, but if not they can always be gassed, plucked and deep fried in bread crumbs.