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Our Lady of Hartley school dog is a real class act

By Jenna Dobbs

A beloved school dog is proving how big an impact animals can have on learning.

Whitby, who spends his days at Our Lady of Hartley Catholic Primary School, listens to children read, goes out on playground duty and looks after pupils’ emotional wellbeing.

The two-year-old cockapoo belongs to assistant headteacher, Andrew Baldock, who teaches a Year 1 class at the site in Stack Lane, near Longfield.

Teacher Gemma Bond and Amelia, 4, greet Whitby
Teacher Gemma Bond and Amelia, 4, greet Whitby
Whitby, the school dog at Our Lady of Hartley Catholic Primary School
Whitby, the school dog at Our Lady of Hartley Catholic Primary School

He said: “Whitby might be food obsessed and spend his spare time trying to find the perfect stick, but he is very useful in the school.

“He makes sure children on the playground are never lonely, helps our youngest pupils settle in and even teaches them about caring for animals.”

A cross between a cocker spaniel and poodle, Whitby was chosen for his temperament and because he does not shed fur - making it unlikely for children to be allergic to him.

Whitby taking part in an ICT lesson
Whitby taking part in an ICT lesson
Whitby helping out in a phonics lesson
Whitby helping out in a phonics lesson

He works closely with family liaison officer, Rachel Glennon, who praised Whitby’s ability to “break down barriers, comfort children and put everyone at ease”.

“The impact he has on staff and pupil wellbeing is priceless,” said Year 2 teacher, Sarah Brooker.

To find out more about Whitby, follow his blog at ourladyhartley.kent.sch.uk

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