Stevenage school employs puppy to provide therapy to pupils with special needs

PUBLISHED: 08:30 12 June 2018

Longmeadow's headteacher with Murphy the labrador. Picture courtesy of Katy Alexander.

Longmeadow's headteacher with Murphy the labrador. Picture courtesy of Katy Alexander.

Archant

A school has employed a puppy to provide therapy to pupils with special educational needs.

Murphy the labrador arrived last Monday for his first day of work at Longmeadow Primary School in Stevenage, to the excitement of pupils.

He will embark on a strict two-year training programme to become a therapy dog, and the whole idea is that the pupils will help with this training.

About 20 per cent of pupils are on the SEN register – higher than the national average of 14 per cent.

SEN co-ordinator Katy Alexander said: “Murphy will be used to improve the emotional wellbeing of pupils, especially those with complex social-emotional needs.

“A lot of our children who find school difficult are calmed by animals.

“There are at least 12 children who will have immediate intensive therapy.

“Murphy, who will live with our headteacher Emily Howley, will have a massive impact.”

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