Aberdeen ,

Puppy receives paws-ome first term school report

A puppy dog in Aberdeen has received a paws-itive report card at the tail end of his first term at Torry Academy.

Arnie, a 10-month-old King Charles spaniel, enrolled at the school in April (2017) as part of the academy’s PAWS programme – the pupils’ attainment and wellbeing strategy. He attends school three days-a-week and is based within the support for learning department, working with pupils to help improve their health and wellbeing, and ease stress and anxiety.

Research has shown there are many benefits for children, young people and adult interactions with dogs.

Arnie’s first term has been a great success. Formally he has worked with English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) beginner/improver class pupils and on one-to-one targeted support for a number of pupils on a range of topics including literacy and health and wellbeing. He has also worked with many other pupils in the department informally.

The biggest impact has been with a number of pupils with significant social, emotional and mental health issues who get a lot of comfort from spending time with Arnie. Being with him gives them a real sense of wellbeing, which in turn means they feel more inclined and enthused about going to their next class.

Arnie has also had a positive impact on Pupil Support Assistants who relish the opportunity to work with him and his presence in Support for Learning (SfL) class allows for this. Other staff are similarly delighted to see him and they have noted that during changeovers of classes the environment is much more settled and calm when Arnie is around as pupils enjoy seeing him.

Jenny Cranna, head teacher at Torry Academy said: Arnie has brought a breath of fresh air into school with far more pupils and staff taking up ‘walking’ as a hobby.

“Arnie generates smiles wherever he goes and feeds into a general feeling of wellbeing in the school. When he’s not at school pupils and staff always ask after him.”

Highlights from Arnie’s report card include:

  • Physical Education – Arnie has come on leaps and bounds. In fact he always takes the lead.
  • Home Economics – Arnie loves making a dog’s dinner. His favourite is woofles.
  • Science – Arnie doesn’t have a ‘lab coat’ because he’s a King Charles spaniel.
  • Maths – Pupils and staff can count on Arnie.
  • Art – Arnie enjoys art. His favourite artist is Vincent Van Dogh.
  • English – Arnie can help with literacy work as his presence can have quite a calming effect. None of his books are dog-eared.
  • Technology – Arnie’s bark is worse than his byte.

Arnie has had such a great time at school he will be ‘bark’ for the start of the new academic year in August 2017.