Dogs on School Grounds Policy
Approved by: Head of Academy March 2023
Last Review: March 2023
Next Review due: March 2024
To ensure the safety and well-being of pupils, staff and visitors to the school and to minimise the risk of accident or injury to people or animals within the school grounds.
The context of the policy:
Governors and staff recognise that dogs are an important part of life for some of our families and, as such, are often included in day-to-day activities such as walking children to and from school. In our teaching we promote the relationship between people and their pets and accept and encourage the idea of pets as ‘family members’. We do see pet ownership as a valuable educational experience for children.
The value of pet ‘therapy’ is widely accepted as a powerful aid to stimulation and communication. Studies have shown that the presence of companion animals can improve the well-being of children and lower the rate of anxiety, simply by making the environment happier, more enjoyable and less forbidding.
The school also acknowledges the views of families who have chosen not to have dogs or other pets. They also recognise that bringing dogs onto the premises might pose a health and safety risk to our pupils and others on site and could be unsettling for many as they arrive and leave school. There are added risks of dogs fouling, dogs biting or showing aggressive unpredictable behaviour.
The School recognises that even well-behaved dogs can behave unpredictably when placed in an unfamiliar, busy, noisy and crowded school environment and that this can lead to unexpected behaviour in even the best-behaved pet. Children can also behave unpredictably when in the presence of dogs especially when they are not used to being with them.
Advice to those bringing dogs to school at drop off and pick up times: Dogs are not permitted to access the school grounds. The school’s priority is the safeguarding of its children and staff.
*The only exception to this is if they are working guide dogs. (engaged as a seeing aid)
Dogs being brought in the school as an educational activity for pupils From time to time to bring a dog might come into school as part an educational activity. This could be linked to a curriculum topic on animals or pets, fundraising for Guide Dogs or workshops by the Blind and Dogs Trust. In these cases, the following guidance should be adhered to:
a) A risk assessment is completed prior to the visit and the dog is from a recognised organisation that can show evidence of the dog’s nature and temperament;
b) The organisation has public liability insurance;
c) Parents/carers have been informed of the proposed visit/how the visit will be carried out;
d) The extent of interaction with the pupils and permission slips received;
e) Alternative arrangements for pupils that may not wish to participate in the activity;
f) All necessary arrangements have been put in place prior to the visit, as agreed with the organisation bringing in the dog. This should take into consideration size, breed of dog, age group and numbers of children;
g) Consideration taken of any allergic reactions to dogs that pupils or staff may have;
h) Good hygiene and hand washing procedures in place for pupils.
Members of the public walking/exercising dogs on school grounds
School grounds are private property and should not be used for the purpose of exercising dogs.