The school has a dog. Gatsby lives with the headteacher and his family and commutes with him every day from north London. Gatsby is an Australian Labradoodle, the breed was specially chosen because they are typically calm and hypoallergenic, this means they do not shed their hair, and therefore are better for children with allergies. Gatsby was bred by registered breeder, with an excellent reputation. From a litter of eight, he was chosen as the calmest and the one best suited to a school environment.
Gatsby joined the school when he was 8 weeks old and since has received intensive training from ‘Barking Mad’ in Graveley, north of Stevenage. Some staff have also received on-site training. Gatsby is based in the headteachers office area. With parental permission, and with an adult present, children do get the opportunity to walk Gatsby. Teaching and non-teaching staff are also able to spend time with him, he has proved very successful at diffusing angry, upset or stressed children. He also likes going on ‘learning walks’ to classes around the school with teacher colleagues. Adults also enjoy his company and he is very much one of our team; a Nobelian.
Here is the risk assessment for having Gatsby in school and colleagues regularly remind students of how to approach Gatsby and or any other dog.