Gotherington Primary School

The Lawns, Gotherington, Cheltenham, GL52 9QT

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Our School  »  School Dog

Our school dog Hero 
After consulting with children, staff, governors and parents we have decided to welcome a school dog to our school family - named Hero. Our school dog has been specifically trained to work with children in primary school and has been in role as a school dog since she was 8 weeks old. As her primary handler and owner I have undertaken a significant amount of research and wanted to share with you the many benefits of having a school dog:

 · Improved behaviour and concentration, reduced stress and improved self-esteem.

 · Encouraging expression and participation in more withdrawn children.

 · Fostering a sense of responsibility.

 · Increasing enthusiasm for and enjoyment of animals which will motivate the children to think and     learn.

 · Teaching children to nurture and respect life.

 · Helping children build confidence and providing comfort when needed

 · Helping children who suffer any form of loss or who are upset in any way and in need of calm, comfort and space before being able to tell an adult what has upset them.

 · A calming effect on pupils, particularly those with behavioural or learning needs.

Hero will also be available to work with children and adults who have had bad experiences with dogs or other animals. With parental permission, over a period of time children who react fearfully to dogs will be supported in approaching, handling and gaining confidence in managing their fear.

Hero’s main place of residence will be the Headteacher’s office, which is secure and separate from the classrooms however children will be able to interact with her under strict supervision at certain times of the day/week as long as parental permission has been given. Hero will not be given access to other visitors without supervision and mutual consent so please do ask before approaching her. There will also continue to be no other dogs allowed on site.

I chose Hero, who is a black Labrador, as her breed is known to be child friendly, gentle mannered, demonstrably affectionate and empathetic yet sensitive plus this breed also has an outstanding trainability. Labradors have short hair and so there is a reduced risk of allergic reaction too.

We understand that it is not possible for all families to have a family dog and therefore we hope that this is an opportunity for children to have a “share” in a dog, gain from a relationship and contact on a regular basis and have a friend for life.