I am writing with some exciting news, that we are due a new addition to the Moreton inclusion team. He is Moreton’s reading and therapy dog, and after a unanimous vote, our students have voted to call him Riley.
We are hoping that Riley will start with us in January 2018 and he will be based in our Inclusion Centre. Riley is a Labrador and has been chosen due to his calm temperament and loyal nature. At present Riley is undergoing intensive training at WKD Trained Dogs, so that he can be fully integrated into school life, and trained to work with students.
Why have we chosen to have a reading dog?
Having a dog in school has been a long term consideration for us, and not one we have taken lightly. We have conducted extensive research into the pros and cons of having a dog in school, as well as risk assessments and understanding practicalities. However, we have visited several schools that currently run such schemes and we were overwhelmed at the positive impact that the dogs have on the children. This is an opportunity we couldn’t miss!
Research suggests that student who find reading challenging can become nervous and stressed when reading aloud in class. The bark and read programme, run by the Kennel Club, says overcoming fear and fostering a love of reading can be a first step to improving literacy. Dogs can play a key role in this, as they are non-judgemental, attentive and perfect listeners.
We appreciate that not all children will like dogs (although we hope Riley will help alleviate some fears) and we are extremely mindful of allergies. Riley will only be allowed in designated areas of the school and where a parent does not want a child to have contact with the dog, the child will not have contact. At no point will the dog be left without an adult and if he is moving around school, he will be on a lead at all times. During the evenings and over the holidays Riley will live with me, and I will ensure that Riley is kept up to date with his flea and worm treatments, and routine appointments at the vets.
Riley is becoming a member of the dogs’ trust meaning he has public liability insurance.
If your child has an allergy to dogs or you do not want your child to have any contact with Riley, I would be most grateful if you could email our school nurse Mrs Humphreys at firstname.lastname@example.org or alternatively complete the attached slip that is on letters that are being sent out this week and return it to the school office.
If you are happy for your child to have contact with Riley, you do not need to complete the attached form.
I hope you can see the benefits of having Riley come and join us at Moreton. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I look forward to updating our social media pages next year with photos of our latest recruit, as he makes a positive impact on reading with our students at Moreton.
Mrs N Bayliss