Welcome to Willow- Our School Dog

Dear Parents and Carers,

willow2

I am writing to inform you that we will have a new member of our school community. We have decided to have a school dog, along with other schools in our Trust as part of the on-going provision for wellbeing and mental health.

Willow, our school dog, will live with Mrs Stupples and come in to 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. 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;Improving attendance;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;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 staff have 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 will be available on the website;When the dog begins working with 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 one of the school offices.

What about allergies?

Our dog is a labradoodle 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.

How can I find out more information?

We aim to put a regular blog onto our website to keep parents and children up to date on the progress of the school dog.

I know there will be lots of parents and carers who support the new addition to our school however, if there are any further questions please talk to a member of the Senior Leadership team on the school gate or write to me in person.

Any parent who does not wish their child to interact with the dog, is invited to write to me to inform me of your wishes.

Yours sincerely,

Mrs Malhi

Head of School

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