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Dorchester Middle School

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This is Dexter.  As you may or may not be aware we have a school dog that regularly comes into school 2 or 3 days a week.

Dexter is a 2 year old Cockapoo. He has achieved his bronze and silver awards in Kennel Clubs Good Citizen Scheme. He is an important part of the school community and very popular with pupils and staff alike.

Letter re: Dexter sent to parents 2019

We are looking to get Dexter back into school one day a week. I have read all the latest guidance and the WHO (World Health Organization) and APHA (Animal and Plant Health Agency) both quite clearly state ‘there is no evidence that dogs can catch and transmit COVID 19 to humans’.

Please see links:


The kennel club also have good advice and information:


Dexter will not be allowed free rein, as he has been in the past, and I will move him around on a lead. All people (adults and pupils) who want to stroke him will have to wash their hands before and after stroking him as a precautionary measure.

What are the benefits of having a dog in school?

Specially trained dogs are becoming more common place in schools and evidence indicates that dogs can help with many areas of pupils’ development including social, emotional, physical and cognitive.

Dexter supports our pupils with a variety of needs:

  • Pupils with special educational needs.
  • Those who have suffered bereavement.
  • Pupils who are upset in any way and need time to calm down before being able to talk to an adult.
  • Listen to pupils read – a far less daunting experience than reading to an adult.
  • Encourage social interaction, discussion to help develop expressive language skills.


It is also anticipated that pupils will learn and understand the responsibility of caring for a dog as well as learning how to read a dog’s body language.


Some concerns you may have?

My child is allergic to dogs

It is understandable that some of you may be concerned about possible allergic reactions to Dexter.  Cockapoos are bred to be light shedding dogs therefore reducing the risk of allergic reactions. He is groomed daily and bathed regularly ensuring he is clean and well maintained. Involvement with Dexter will be entirely voluntary and any pupil coming into contact with him will be encouraged to wash their hands after handling him. We are happy for you to provide antihistamine for your child to take in case of an allergic reaction.

My child is scared of dogs

We understand that some children and adults may have had an upsetting and/or frightening experience of a dog therefore have a fear of them. Dexter will only have contact with those who wish to have it. He will undergo rigorous training and be kept under control at all times. If it is your wish, Dexter could help overcome your child’s fear of dogs whilst being supported in approaching, gaining confidence and handling Dexter.

Will Dexter be properly cared for?

Dexter’s welfare is paramount and his needs will be fully addressed so that he is comfortable being in the school environment.  Dexter is fully vaccinated, wormed and flea treated regularly. Dexter will always be accompanied by an appropriate adult. Whilst Dexter is in school he will have access to his bed where he can ‘chill out’ during the school day, The school has insurance to cover Dexter being in school and have a health and safety risk assessment in place.

Please inform us if you DO NOT wish for your child to come into direct contact with Dexter OR if your child is allergic to dogs.


If you have any questions please contact Mrs Gaffney