Posted: 05 Mar 2020
Dear Parents and Carers
We are very excited to introduce you to a new member of staff who we will be welcoming to our school. We have a cockapoo puppy who is training to become a school dog and is set to become an integral part of our school community. He will be introduced to the school from 8th March.
I am inviting all the students to submit their ideas for a name for the school dog. Please will all ideas be submitted to myself via email by 5th March. This is a picture of our new puppy to inspire you.
We have chosen a cockapoo as it is a breed that is known to be obedient, child friendly, gentle mannered, sensitive, not shed fur and have outstanding trainability.
There are a number of benefits to having dogs in school, especially for students with ASD, and we aim for the school dog to primarily become a well being nurture dog amongst other things. We have undertaken a significant amount of research and are aware of many benefits to having school dogs:
- Helping children build confidence in reading
- Having a calming effect on pupils, particularly those with behavioural or learning difficulties
- Improving children’s behaviour and concentration, reducing stress and improving 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- Encouraging expression and participation in more withdrawn children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
- Helping children 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.
While the dog’s main place of residence will be in my office to begin with, which is separate from the classrooms, children will be able to interact with him under strict supervision at certain times of the day/week as long as parental permission has been given.
In addition to this, there will be other dogs visiting the school, by appointment with myself, however these will only be sanctioned by myself and will be for those members of staff with a safe office base.
I have outlined some of the concerns that you may have regarding having dogs in school.
My child is allergic to dogs
It is understandable that some parents may be concerned about possible allergic reactions to a school dog. The dogs will be subjected to a thorough cleanliness and grooming regime. They will only be allowed in situations with pupils who voluntarily wish to work with her and have been given permission by their parent.
Will the dog be properly cared for?
Dogs are well looked after as family pets and have had all vaccinations and regular vets check-ups. He will live with me at home and will come into school a few days a week, staying in my office. They will always be accompanied by at least one adult. Whilst he is in school they will have access to a bed in the office to ‘chill out’ during the day. If the dogs unwell for any reason, they will stay at home. The toileting area will be away from the children in an area that is not accessed by them and children will not be involved in clearing up.
My child is scared of dogs
Some children may have had upsetting experiences and thus have a fear of dogs. The school dogs will only be in contact with children whose parents have given their permission. Experience and research have shown that with guidance and handling, children can learn to overcome their fear of animals and grow in respect and appreciation for them. If you would like your child to overcome their fear we will aim to support this on a gradual basis, again with your consent.
We hope you will join us in welcoming the school puppy to Ripplevale School and embrace all that he has to offer.
Head of School
Remote Learning Video
Whilst we have not been able to capture all of the amazing work being done at school and at home, here is a short video giving a snap shot of the efforts from staff, students and parents.
Thank you to everyone for your hard work, creativity and enthusiasm towards ensuring learning continues whether at school or at home.