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School Dog

Ivingswood Academy is fortunate to have its own school dog, Poppy.

Poppy is a Goldador, a cross between a Golden Retriever and a Labrador, which are l known for their intelligence and ability to be trained and are often used as guide dogs and therapy dogs.  They are also particularly good around children.  Poppy belongs to Mrs Swaysland, who cares for her out of school as well as taking responsibility for her in school . 

There are many benefits to having a school dog including:


  • 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.

Dogs are increasingly being used in schools with great success and are now being used in some hospitals as the emotional health benefits they bring are just so vast.   

Through our assemblies and in class sessions, children learn about the rules and expectations of having a school dog as well as the many of the benefits they can bring. The Dogs Trust have also run workshops to further develop children’s understanding of being around dogs.

The dog’s main place of residence is an office area, which is secure and separate from the classrooms.  . Whilst moving around the school, she is kept on a short lead and is always with an adult.  Throughout the school year, all children will have the opportunity to interact with our school dog once parental consent has been obtained.

Further information and a risk assessment can be found in the School Dog Policy below.