Our Therapy Dog

Sawley – Therapy Dog

Last year we trialled having a therapy puppy in school called Jet. We found that there were so many benefits for the children and staff on mental health and wellbeing that we wanted to make a more permanent arrangement for school.

Sawley is our new therapy dog who will be working in our school as part of the on-going provision for well-being and metal health. She will be spending time in and around the school getting used to her new working ​surroundings and all of us! Sawley is five years old and was trained as a guide dog, but now belongs to our Chair of Governors, Mr Workman. She will be working with Miss North, one of our Senior Mental Health Leads in school to support our pupils at Highfields who may need social and emotional support. Sawley will be visiting once a week to help children and we already love having her around at school.


What are the benefits of a school dog?

  • A calming effect on pupils;
  • Improved behaviour and concentration, reduced stress and improved self-esteem;
  • Encouraging expression, participation and confidence for all 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 thereby improving pupils’ relationships with each other, parents and teachers;
  • Teaching children to nurture and respect life;
  • Helping work undertaken with the most vulnerable children;
  • Helping children build confidence in reading;
  • Improving attendance;
  • Further promote our well-being agenda for pupils.


How has the school planned for this?

  • A full risk assessment and policy has been written and will be available on the website.
  • When the dog begins working with children, consent will be sought for each child to have contact.
  • All contact will be carefully planned and children will not be left unsupervised with the dog
  • When not working, the dog will be based in one of the school offices.


What about allergies?

  • Our dog is a black labrador and the breed has low allergy and medium shedding qualities
  • All areas of the school are vacuumed and surfaces are wiped down daily
  • Movement around the school will be controlled
  • Any child working with the dog will wash their hands