Over the last six months plus we have been discussing the benefit of having a school dog at both the secondary and primary schools. Academic research has shown that dogs working and helping in the school environment can help to achieve the following:
- Improve academic achievement
- Increase literacy skills
- Calming behaviours
- Increase social skills and self-esteem
- Increase confidence
- Teach responsibility and respect to all life
- Help prevent truancy
- Motivate children who are often less attentive
After much research and discussions with primary stakeholders and other SEN schools and colleges who have successfully introduced a dog, we feel ready to make this commitment. I am really pleased to now introduce Simba!
Simba will be owned by Mrs Palmer and will live with her young family, so will have a great deal of contact with young children. We have looked into the various breeds that make successful school dogs and have chosen a Cockapoo, which is a cross between a cocker spaniel and a toy poodle. It will be a medium sized dog known for its friendliness. We would introduce the School dog as a puppy on a gradual basis, so it can become familiar with the school environments and then gradually meet the pupils.
We will be working with a well-respected Dog Trainer, Pawfect Dog Sense who have successfully introduced dogs into schools. The training will be provided for pupils, staff and Mrs Palmer’s family so there is a consistent approach to how Simba is handled. We are all really looking forward to getting to know Simba, welcoming him into our school and ensuring he feels safe and happy!