Athelstan Community Primary School

"To be the best that we can be"

Buddy Our School Dog


Please note due to the current Covid 19 Pandemic Buddy is not currently in school; he will however add regular ‘Pupdates’ to his page to let you know about his exciting adventures and ongoing training whilst at home.


Why have a school dog?

We undertook a significant amount of research and are aware of many benefits to having a school dog such as:

 · having a calming effect on pupils, particularly those with behavioural or learning difficulties

· improved behaviour and concentration reduced stress and improved self-esteem

· encouraging expression and participation in more withdrawn children

· fostering a sense of responsibility

· motivating pupils to think and to learn, as 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, and educational improvements     with low achievers.


Children can benefit educationally and emotionally, increase their understanding of responsibility and develop empathy and nurturing skills through contact with a dog. In addition to these benefits, children take great enjoyment from interaction with a dog.  By having a dog in school we want to encourage those children specifically who are vulnerable, or those who are less confident with learning to have a friendly audience and to look forward to a challenge. Having a dog in school can encourage reluctant children to come to school.  The vast majority of dogs are gentle and loving, offering children opportunities to improve social development skills, unconditional acceptance and the chance to do something really well. For some children, a dog will be a special friend, helping them to build self-esteem, relax and have fun. For others, time spent with a dog will be a reward for excellent effort with a difficult challenge.

We chose a Labrador as the most appropriate breed of dog for the school. The breed has been carefully selected because of its ideal temperament and because it is used widely in the field of therapy and support.  Buddy is still training, with his owner Mrs Barton, and is regularly assessed.

They are also used successfully in other schools. Labradors are by nature gentle and friendly. They are also superb working dogs.  We are sure the children will gain a great deal of enjoyment from having their school dog and that he becomes an established part of life at our school.

We also understand that it is not possible for all families to have a family dog and therefore we hope that this is an opportunity for children to have a ‘share’ in a dog and gain much from a relationship and contact with him on a regular basis.

It is accepted that interacting with animals is not appropriate for all children but that for some it has the potential to provide many positive benefits. Any parent who does not wish their child to interact with Buddy is invited to write to inform Mrs Barton of their wishes. This risk assessment will be reviewed regularly and the impact of a school dog will be evaluated by the school senior  management team.


Fountains Abbey

PupDate 1 – Fountains Abbey

Hello, this week I have had an amazing time at Fountains Abbey.  I walked around the ruins and even managed a sneaky dip in the water gardens.