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Educational Assistance Dogs

Here at Winford Primary, we have two educational assistance dogs, Called Fernie and Tango.

Fernie is a ‘chocolate’ Labrador who lives with the Headteacher, but comes into school on alternate days with Tango. He is fully trained and certified through a charity called ‘Dogs Helping Kids’. The training takes in excess of 18 months and he has had to pass eight rigorous assessments in order to meet the standard. Fernie is based in the Headteacher’s office, but will often be seen on a lead with Mr Gardner in classrooms, collective worship, at playtime and around school.

Tango is a younger ‘red-fox’ Labrador.  He was well established following the same educational assistance dog path as Fernie, but unfortunately the charity was forced to close during 2020.  It is our plan to continue with his training and have an independent assessment to verify his suitability for working in the school environment.

Our dogs are used to educate about welfare and training, provide therapy and listen to children read. It has been proven that working with a dog improves children’s social skills and self-esteem. Many studies have been undertaken that give credit to the benefits of dogs in the school.  We also place great emphasis on using the dogs to educate children about how to approach, act around, meet welfare needs and training. There is no better place to educate our children on how to treat animals than that of the school environment. Animals in schools can encourage children to respect all life, teach responsibility, motivate those children who find it hard to engage, help calm children down and improve academic achievement.

In addition to this, if children are wary of dogs, they can be supported in approaching, handling and gaining confidence in managing their fears, through the presence of a specially trained dog in school.

Our dogs are only worked by either the headteacher or our pastoral lead, to ensure that everyone’s welfare needs are maintained.

Both Fernie and Tango have been fully risk assessed but if you have any questions , concerns or reservations then please do contact the school for further information.