Students returned for the start of term at a West Sussex school last week – along with the newest addition to the its team.
Margot, a three-month-old Irish terrier, has joined Felpham Community College as its new school dog.
Headteacher Mark Anstiss said: “Over the last few years we have been considering and evaluating the opportunity provided by getting a school dog, this is known as ‘animal assisted activities’.
“The research is very compelling and has shown that there are distinctive benefits for all the school community if this is structured in the right way.”
Research shows the benefits of having a school dog include improving general well-being, working with students with their reading and learning, improving self-esteem, and supporting anger management and bereavement.
It is hoped Margot will also help develop sense of community and improve student knowledge and understanding of animals.
She has been gradually introduced to the school community and her training will continue with staff and students at Felpham now term has begun.
Mr Anstiss said: “She is proving very popular with everyone at Felpham and, although she is only little, she is already a big part of the team!”
He also said the school was aware of health and safety planning and has a robust risk assessment and routines to keep all members of its community safe and the dog happy and secure, with students’ safety a key priority.