A troubled Preston academy has brought in a four-legged assistant.Advertisement
Biscuit is the latest recruit to enrol at Fulwood Academy.
The Black Bull Lane school is the mental health companion for the hundreds of pupils.
Academy sponsor Sir Charles Dunstone suggested the idea after seeing research about how pets help people manage long-term mental health problems.
The two-year-old Cavapoo, a cross between a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and a Poodle, has been brought into the Academy.
He is being trained up as a theraphy dog and is owned by assistant principal of inclusion Miss Helen Goacher.
She is also a trained Mental Health First Aider.
Miss Goacher said: “There are a whole host of studies that have been conducted that show stroking or sitting or exercising with a dog can elevate levels of serotonin and dopamine, which help calm and relax people.
“But it’s more than that too. Pets can act as a way of breaking the ice and help students discuss their anxieties, plus they can also help to remove barriers and create mutual talking points. At Fulwood one of our priorities is to contribute positively to our students’ wellbeing and looking after their mental health.”
Fulwood Academy student Abbi said: “Research has shown that dogs can read the side of a human’s face that reveals emotion, so that means Biscuit will be able to help pupils who are struggling with being upset or angry. The whole Academy is benefitting from Biscuit as you just can’t help but smile when you see him.”
Fulwood Academy was rated was placed into special measures in February following its latest Ofsted report.
A new principal has been brought in and the school recently appointed a trouble-shooting vice principal who specialises in turning around failing schools.