TEDDY, OUR SCHOOL DOG
Please meet Teddy Barkington-Symonds, a very valued member of our staff team. Teddy is our school dog, he is a Golden Doodle, a breed known for its mild temperament and hypo-allergenic coat. His father is a standard poodle and his mother is a Golden Retriever. Teddy is a larger breed of dog but his lineage has bred many therapeutic dogs because of their gentle, intuitive and loving nature.
There are many benefits to a school dog including:
- the calming effect they have on pupils
- improved behaviour and self-esteem
- fostering a sense of empathy and responsibility
- helping children build confidence in reading
- improving punctuality, attendance and general well-being
Teddy is always on a lead and with a trained member of staff. We know that there are some adults and children who are worried about being in close proximity to dogs and there is no expectation or pressure for people to interact with Teddy if they are uncomfortable about doing so. We hope that as Teddy becomes an established part of the family, he will be able to help people overcome their fears.
Teddy started with us in September 2021. His introduction to our school was gradual with him slowly being socialised with the children and their families from a distance at pick up and drop off times. He has now become a regular member of our Welcome Team.
Teddy has an area in the Senior Leadership Team office where he can relax in his own space. He is exercised and toileted during the school day in an area where children do not have access.
In Term 1 Teddy visited each class for a Welcome Assembly where the children were taught about his breed, how we would be caring for him and his role around the school.
His role is currently limited to greeting families on the gates at drop off and collection. He is a great asset when supporting children who are anxious about coming into school by walking them in and helping them settle.
In Term 2 Teddy began to attend ‘Oasis’ our indoor option for those children wanting a quieter lunchtime. He was also able to support pupils who struggled during the school day with emotional challenges by bringing some calm and welcome distraction.
Over Terms 3 and 4 Teddy has continued on the Welcome Team, attend Oasis and support the wellbeing of some children. He is starting to invite children down to his ‘pad’ so that they can read to him.
In time when Teddy is a bit older, he will be trained to become a fully licensed therapy dog.