We will shortly be introducing a new member of our school community to our BHVC family! We have decided to have a school dog, as part of the on-going provision for wellbeing and mental health. Raya was recently introduced ‘virtually’ to the children and has been spending a few days in school over the past weeks with me to get used to her new surroundings.
Raya (rhymes with ‘fire’) our school dog, will live with me and come into school every day to be alongside the children. There will be a long period of integration into the school, with the children taught how to act near the dog, as well as the dog receiving extensive training before they all meet and work together. She may not actually work with the children until September, but we’ll make sure Year 6 get some quality time with her before they leave!
There are many benefits of having a school dog, as detailed below:
A calming effect on pupils.
Improved behaviour and concentration, reduced stress and improved self-esteem.
Encouraging expression, participation and confidence for all children.
Fostering a sense of responsibility.
Motivating pupils to think and to learn.
Developing an enthusiasm for and enjoyment of animals.
Encouraging respect and thereby improving pupils’ relationships with each other, parents and teachers.
Teaching children to nurture and respect life.
Helping work undertaken with the most vulnerable children.
Helping children build confidence in reading.
Helping overcome a fear of dogs.
Increasing staff morale and wellbeing.
Developing the understanding of unconditional love.
Supporting with the development of cooperative play.
Supporting children to develop empathy.
To further promote our Well Being agenda for pupils.
How has the school planned for this?
Rigorous research has been carried out to ensure that we have selected the most suitable breed of dog for our school, pupils and staff.
Prior to purchasing the puppy Mrs Howells visited the home of the breeder to ensure that the puppy’s temperament, and that of its parents, is suitable for interaction with children.
A full risk assessment and policy has been written and is available to view on the school website (click the box below to view).
Prior to the dog beginning to work with groups and individual children, consent will be sought for each child to have contact.
All contact will be carefully planned and children will not be left unsupervised with the dog.
When not working, the dog will be based in Mrs Howells/Mrs Coombs or the General office.
What about allergies?
The dog is a cockerpoo and the breed has low allergy and non-shedding qualities.
All areas of the school are vacuumed and surfaces are wiped down daily.
Movement around the school will be controlled.
Any child working with the dog will wash their hands.
We aim to blog regularly onto our website to keep parents and children up to date on the progress of the school dog. I know there will be many parents and carers who will support the new addition to our school. However, if you have doubts and there are any further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
Mrs J. Howells
Click on the link below to access
our risk assessment document