Our School Dog

As part of our on-going commitment to improving pupil and staff wellbeing and mental health, we have a school dog. Mrs Roberts owns the dog and is responsible for its care and wellbeing, alongside Mrs Gower (handler). The dog has been chosen for the general characteristics of its breed (Schnoodle) - good with children, easy to train, very sociable, non-shredding, friendly. There has been 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 and socialisation. An increasing number of schools, locally and nationally, have introduced a school dog and report very positive results. We share information about Ragnar’s time in school on our website and newsletters and new visitors to the school are informed by a poster in the entrance area. Only the school dog is allowed on the premises or grounds, as he is covered under our risk assessment and insurance and we are unable to put effective control measures in place that guarantee temperament and safety when children come into unsupervised contact with unknown dogs.

 

Since October 2023, he has begun working with some groups of children and individuals. Following on from his puppy training in June, we have now completed training from The Dog Mentor programme. This programme has built upon the benefits of the human-animal bond by providing children positive experiences with dogs that can help them educationally, developmentally, emotionally and socially. This company have worked with hundreds of school dogs over the last decade. The Dog Mentor programme has been proven to have a positive impact on children in all areas including self-esteem, behaviour, peer relationships and better engagement skills. These improvements then result in improved academic achievement.

In November 2023, we had our assessment day for Ragnar and Mrs Roberts and Mrs Gower (his handlers in school). We are thrilled to announce we were awarded with Sliver award! We will be aiming to achieve gold by the end of the academic year. The assessor commented: 

Ragnar is a very confident and intelligent puppy. He loves to learn and wants to please everyone. He communicates extremely well that he is happy and comfortable around school. Ragnar loves to be around people and especially happy to be with children. His fun, gentle nature makes him perfect for The Dog Mentor Programme and he will be a huge asset to Eckington CE First School! 

 

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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.  

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How has the school prepared and planned for this?

· Rigorous research has been carried out and ongoing advice is sought from other schools with school dogs and other agencies;

· A full risk assessment has been written and is available on request;

· All contact will be carefully planned and children will not be left unsupervised with the dog, the dog will always be on a lead when moving around school and be closely supervised by an adult; 

· 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;

· The breed has been selected as non-shredding

· 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, please let us know.

 

Please don’t hesitate to ask if you have any questions or would like more information.

Our School Dog

As part of our on-going commitment to improving pupil and staff wellbeing and mental health, we have a school dog. Mrs Roberts owns the dog and is responsible for its care and wellbeing, alongside Mrs Gower (handler). The dog has been chosen for the general characteristics of its breed (Schnoodle) - good with children, easy to train, very sociable, non-shredding, friendly. There has been 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 and socialisation. An increasing number of schools, locally and nationally, have introduced a school dog and report very positive results. We share information about Ragnar’s time in school on our website and newsletters and new visitors to the school are informed by a poster in the entrance area. Only the school dog is allowed on the premises or grounds, as he is covered under our risk assessment and insurance and we are unable to put effective control measures in place that guarantee temperament and safety when children come into unsupervised contact with unknown dogs.

 

Since October 2023, he has begun working with some groups of children and individuals. Following on from his puppy training in June, we have now completed training from The Dog Mentor programme. This programme has built upon the benefits of the human-animal bond by providing children positive experiences with dogs that can help them educationally, developmentally, emotionally and socially. This company have worked with hundreds of school dogs over the last decade. The Dog Mentor programme has been proven to have a positive impact on children in all areas including self-esteem, behaviour, peer relationships and better engagement skills. These improvements then result in improved academic achievement.

In November 2023, we had our assessment day for Ragnar and Mrs Roberts and Mrs Gower (his handlers in school). We are thrilled to announce we were awarded with Sliver award! We will be aiming to achieve gold by the end of the academic year. The assessor commented: 

Ragnar is a very confident and intelligent puppy. He loves to learn and wants to please everyone. He communicates extremely well that he is happy and comfortable around school. Ragnar loves to be around people and especially happy to be with children. His fun, gentle nature makes him perfect for The Dog Mentor Programme and he will be a huge asset to Eckington CE First School! 

 

image

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.  

image
image

How has the school prepared and planned for this?

· Rigorous research has been carried out and ongoing advice is sought from other schools with school dogs and other agencies;

· A full risk assessment has been written and is available on request;

· All contact will be carefully planned and children will not be left unsupervised with the dog, the dog will always be on a lead when moving around school and be closely supervised by an adult; 

· 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;

· The breed has been selected as non-shredding

· 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, please let us know.

 

Please don’t hesitate to ask if you have any questions or would like more information.