Children at two local schools are loving their lessons thanks to a couple of rather fluffy classmates, Robbie the Labrador Retriever and Willow the Cockapoo.
The furry friends are school dogs at the Inspire Academy in Ashton-under-Lyne and Greenside Primary School in Droylsden, Manchester and are helping pupils develop their confidence and reading skills.
Robbie, a 2-year-old black Labrador, lives with Year 1 teacher and Assistant Principal Emma Richards but during the day works with the pupils at Inspire.
Commenting on the impact Robbie has made since he joined the team in September 2018, Emma said: “The children and staff all absolutely adore Robbie. He has worked wonders by encouraging some of the less confident children to open up, he’s enhancing their literary and maths skills and has really helped to promote their love of reading. He has a huge impact on the children and the school as a whole.”
At Greenside Primary School Willow, the Cockapoo lives with Kerry Mitchell, Assistant Headteacher. Willow has a full and varied timetable working with different children with varying needs throughout the day, on either a 1:1, small group or whole-class basis.
Kerry said: “If children are in emotional crisis Willow, when appropriate, will sit or play with the children, frequently bringing them comfort by spending calm time with them. Willow also gets to spend time with certain children, as a reward, when they have challenged themselves and hit really tricky targets.”
Both schools are part of the Victorious Academies Trust, which has six academies across Tameside and Derbyshire.