Pupils at Dame Janet Primary Academy and Newlands Primary School in Ramsgate have been welcomed back to class by therapy assistance dog Niko.
Niko belongs to Clare Lawrence, the designated safeguarding lead for both schools, and he joins her in her office at either school, where he has no end of admirers.
Niko has been meeting children since April, even joining Miss Lawrence on gate duty in the mornings, but in June Niko took the first important step to being fully qualified by passing his initial assistance dog suitability assessment.
Niko will be trained and assessed by registered company Pawsable, which specialises in supporting owner trained therapy assistance dogs, on his journey to become a fully fledged therapy assistance dog.
Clare said: “I am very proud of how Niko has taken to being in school, he is incredibly calm and loves the attention from children and staff.”
Research has shown that dogs working in schools can aid improvement in academic achievement, increase in literacy skills, teach children responsibility and respect for all life and help prevent truancy.
It has also shown that spending time with animals can increase confidence, social skills and self-esteem in children whilst helping to calm behaviour and motivate youngsters who may be less attentive.
People can follow Niko’s journey to being a fully trained assistance pup via his Instagram page Niko.thecavapoo