Fergus – Our School Dog
Fergus is a much loved family pet of Mrs Boyes, our School Business Leader and is our School Dog! He is a Cockerpoo which is a cross between a Cocker Spaniel and a Poodle. Fergus is 5 years old and his birthday is 21st January. of achievement
Fergus started coming into school in July 2023 and in September Mrs Boyes, Mrs Hodgson and Fergus completed “The Dog Mentor” training programme. Click on the link below that will take you to their website and further details of the programme we are following.
They assessed Fergus’s suitability to undertake this role and worked with Mrs Boyes and Mrs Hodgson on how to best use the programme to support pupil welfare, and how to best look after Fergus’s welfare, when in school. He now comes into school every Tuesday and Thursday.
Fergus is a hypoallergenic breed. Hypoallergenic dogs shed less hair and don’t drool. Allergy sufferers are allergic to the protein found in the saliva and urine of the dog and as they groom themselves the protein spreads to their skin and coat. So the shed hair exposes people to the protein. Although no dog can be 100% non-allergenic, he is less likely to cause problems to allergy sufferers. He is regularly groomed.
Temperament. Fergus is very calm, good-natured and sociable, friendly and loyal. He is very sweet-natured, intelligent and sensitive. He can sometimes bark but usually when he is excited and never to be aggressive.
In School. Fergus starts the day with a visit to Sprouts and is a welcome sight to lots of children, first thing in a morning. He supports morning drop off, with Mrs Hodgson and is always there to cheer children up and support any that maybe struggling at that time.
He has a timetable for his days in school and time can be booked for individuals, groups and classes for Fergus to spend time with them, as well as having his own time to nap!
. Children quite often get the chance to spend some time with Fergus, as a reward and he currently attends classrooms as a reward for reading and listens to the class story.
Sometimes he visits the playground at lunchtime so children can just come and say hello and other times he just drops into classrooms, in search of their class treat jars!
We are still developing how Fergus can benefit pupils in the school however in the short time he has been with us, we can see he is really making a difference.
There are many benefits to having a school dog, like:
- A calming effect on pupils
- Improved behaviour and concentration
- Reduced stress and improved self-esteem
- Encouraging expression and participation in children
- Fostering a sense of responsibility
- Motivating pupils to think and to learn, as most children have a high level of natural interest in, enthusiasm for, and enjoyment of animals
- Encouraging respect and improving pupils’ relationships with each other, parents and teachers
- Teaching children to nurture and respect life
- Helping work with vulnerable children
- Helping children build confidence in reading
Please see this article for more information:
Who is the legal owner of the dog?
Q Who is the legal owner of the dog and who pays for its costs?
A. The legal owner of the dog is Mrs Boyes, our School Business Leader who will care for the dog out of school hours and will
bear the costs associated with it; the school budget will remain unaffected.
Q Will the dog be a distraction?
A. The dog will be kept in an office area. We will be careful to ensure that time spent with the school dog is shared among the children fairly. We will also ensure that children who are not involved in regular, direct contact with the dog are still able to participate in a number of ways, should they wish to do so.
Q Has a risk assessment been undertaken?
A. Yes, we have carefully considered having a dog in school and sought advice from many sources, including other schools that successfully have a school dog, parents and of course, pupils.
Q. How will the dog be toileted to ensure hygiene for all?
A. In the interest of health and hygiene, our school dog will be toileted in the area around the carpark and not any area where pupils have access to. Our policy of no dogs in the playground is still applicable as we are unable to put effective control measures in place that guarantee temperament and safety when children come into unsupervised contact with unknown dogs.
Q How will the dog’s welfare be considered?
A. Fergus is walked before and after school as well as at lunchtime. He is kept in an office area and will only have planned and supervised contact with children and visitors. The dog will be carefully trained over a period of time and will have unlimited access to water. We will work closely with other professionals to ensure the dog’s welfare is always carefully considered.
Q How will this be managed where children have allergies?
A. We already manage a number of allergies at school and this will be no different for children and adults that are allergic to dogs. The breed of dog has also been chosen for its hypoallergenic properties. Individual needs will always be met and we are happy to work with parents to put additional control measures in place for individual allergies.
Q My child is frightened of dogs; how will you manage this?
A. Access to the dog will be carefully managed and supervised and children do not need to have regular, close contact with it unless permission for this has been given. We hope to work closely with parents of children who are fearful of dogs to alleviate their fear and to teach them how to manage this.