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“Sheep to market, children to the farm, chickens to school.”

Chickens to School is the twenty-fourth episode of the eighth series.


One summer night, Thomas is busy taking coal trucks to the Coaling Plant and is very tired by the time he arrives back at Tidmouth Sheds in the morning. Thomas wishes that he had some assistance with the coal delivery, but Gordon tells Thomas that a Really Useful Engine does not need help. Just then, the Fat Controller arrives as he requires an engine to carry out three jobs. Thomas decides to carry out the three jobs, despite being tired. His three jobs are to take chickens to the market, sheep to the farm and the children to school. Gordon remarks that three jobs is too much for Thomas and he will need assistance, but Thomas tells him that tank engines do not need help at all.

"Sheep to market, children to the farm, chickens to school."

So Thomas sets off with Annie, Clarabel and two vans. He collects the chickens from the farm, the sheep from the valley and the children from the station. Thomas carries on with his journey up and over Gordon's Hill and through Henry's Tunnel. Throughout the journey, he reminds himself where he is going. However, the tiredness starts getting the better of him and he gets confused.

At the station where the market is being held, Thomas tells the lorry drivers to unload the sheep, instead of the chickens. Then Emily arrives and sees Thomas looking tired, so she offers to help. But Thomas turns down her offer, though he is very sleepy. After the market, Thomas goes onto Farmer McColl's and tells the children it is their stop. Finally at the school, Thomas delivers the chickens, much to the confusion of the school teachers.

Thomas heads off for home, but not before the Fat Controller receives phone calls about the sheep making a mess at the market, the children getting muddy at the farm and the chickens messing up the classrooms. The Fat Controller tells Thomas what happened and that he needs to put everything right, but this time with help. Thomas then tells the Fat Controller what Gordon said earlier about how a Really Useful Engine never needs help. Edward remarks that he is always helping Gordon up the hill, which makes Gordon blush with embarrassment.

Thomas sets off with Edward and Percy helping him. Edward takes the chickens from the school to the market, Percy takes the sheep from the market to the farm and Thomas collects the children from the farm to the school. Thomas apologises to the children for bringing them to the wrong place, but they reassure him that they were learning about the farm, after having seen all of the animals. That night, Thomas finally gets some much needed sleep in Tidmouth Sheds, and has good dreams about sheep, children and chickens.




  • Going by production order, this is the eighteenth episode of the eighth series and the 200th episode of the show.
  • Stock footage from Thomas and the Circus is used.
  • For a while, it was unknown who the sheep farmer was, but from a magazine poster, it turned out to be Farmer Collett, who also appeared in several magazine stories.
  • The book, Thomas' Busy Day, shows that Percy was originally going to have a larger role as he saw Thomas was tired while waiting at a junction and asked him if he needed any help, only for Thomas to decline.
  • In the individual version of this episode, the last bit of music is omitted at the end.
  • This episode marks the last appearance of the Captain.
  • In the UK dub, the narrator says that Thomas gets muddled up while feeling tired. In the US dub, the narrator says that Thomas became confused while Thomas was feeling tired.
  • This episode marks the last appearance of Henry's Tunnel in completely original footage until The Great Discovery, as it appears in stock footage from Edward the Great in Calling All Engines!
  • This episode also marks the first time since the second series, and last appearance of Thomas' unwell face mask is used.


  • In the stop-motion animation sequence of the teachers unloading the chickens, the rear van moves.
  • In the scene where the teacher looks up from under the desk, his hands are facing the wrong way.
  • After the close up of the children when Thomas picks them up, some of the children disappear.
  • In the scene with Thomas and Emily, Thomas' eyes are misaligned.
  • Thomas's whistle is crooked in many scenes.
  • Gordon's lamp irons are crooked.
  • In most scenes, Clarabel's roof is damaged.


In Other Languages

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Language Title
Brazilian Portuguese Galinhas para Escola
Chinese Mandarin 送小鸡上学
Croatian Kokoši u školi
Czech Kuřata do školy
Danish En vild forvirring
Dutch Kippen naar school
Finnish Kanat kouluun
German Thomas ist verwirrt
Hungarian Csirkék az iskolában
Italian Polli a scuola
Japanese にわとりがっこうへいく
Korean 학교에 간 닭들
Latin American Spanish Gallinas a la Escuela
Norwegian Høner til skolen
Polish Kurczaki do szkoły
Romanian Puii la Școală
Russian Как цыплята попали в школу
Spanish Pollos al Colegio
Swedish Kycklingar till skolan
Thai เอาไก่ไปโรงเรียน

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  • Peep! Peep! Hurray! Three Cheers for Thomas

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