Express & Star

School dog introduced to help pupils' wellbeing

A school dog has been praised for making a positive impact on pupils and staff.

Maddie Powis, 14, with Fern the Dog.

Three-month-old Fern, the latest recruit at Holy Trinity School in Kidderminster, belongs to Mrs Leek-Wright – who had the idea of introducing a dog into the school.

The introduction of the dog comes after increasing concerns over mental health and level of stress youngsters encounter during their education.

Mrs Pamela Leek-Wright, headteacher at the school, said: “There has been an overwhelmingly positive response from all members of the school community and already the impact of having Fern in school is tangible.

"Regardless of age, there seems to be a need that can be fulfilled by interacting with Fern, who seems to be having a powerful impact on the emotional well-being within school.”

Two years of planning, research and seeking advice has gone into making a school dog become a reality.

Mrs Leek-Wright added: “Having enjoyed her first term, Fern is now very familiar with the sights, sounds and smells of her ‘work place’ and having settled exceptionally well she is now at an age to concentrate on specific training with her Dog Trainer so that she can start to join in classes over the coming term.”

Still only a puppy, Fern will interact with children from five years old to sixth formers.

She will be used to support the school's wellbeing programme and work alongside the school counsellor, and will be a regular visitor to the school's libraries – encouraging pupils to read to her.