Welcome to Dottie
We have some really exciting news to share with you all. As of next term we will have a new member of our school community. We have decided to bring a dog into school as part of our on-going commitment to improving pupil and staff wellbeing and mental health.
Dottie belongs to Mrs Harrison our Senior Mental Health Lead. Mrs Harrison owns Dottie and is responsible for her care and wellbeing. As a school, we have taken out additional public liability insurance to ensure we are covered for the dog being on the premises.
To begin with, Dottie will visit school for one or two afternoons a week. 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 developing its understanding of school.
We plan to share information about Dottie’s time in school on our website and social media channels.
There are many benefits of having a school dog, some are 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;
- Developing the understanding of unconditional love;
- Supporting with the development of cooperative play;
- Supporting children to develop empathy;
- Further promote our Wellbeing agenda for pupils.
How has the school planned for this?
- Rigorous research has been carried out;
- A full risk assessment and policy has been written and is available on the website;
- All contact will be carefully planned and children will not be left unsupervised with the dog;
- When not working, the dog will have a place to rest away from the children.
What about allergies?
- All areas of the school are vacuumed and surfaces are wiped down daily;
- Movement around the school will be controlled and the dog will primarily be based in one area;
- The dog will be regularly groomed;
- Any child working with the dog will thoroughly wash their hands after contact.
What if my child has a fear of dogs?
We are very aware that some children are scared of dogs. Often this stems from one bad experience or from a fear held by a family member which has passed to them. We are very keen to work with fearful children in a controlled way to try and help them overcome their fear should you wish this to happen. Equally, if you would rather your child does not have contact, you can indicate this on the form below.
In the future we may look to increase the amount of time that Dottie is in school, the decision will always be carefully considered and risk assessed from the point of view of both the dog and the staff and children.
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 or write to us by email. Before any child is allowed to have contact with Dottie the letter that came home has a consent form attached and must be returned to school.
There is the full risk assesment that has been completed for Dottie available to view on our key info page under policies.