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Every school 'needs a classroom dog'

A new sort of teacher’s pet is being called on to help pupils cope with the stresses of school.

“Wellbeing dogs” are becoming increasingly common within schools and are being used to bring a comforting and helpful presence to what can often be a highly pressurised environment.

Such is the success, leading education expert, Sir Anthony Seldon, has suggested all schools should have a dog as a means of decreasing stress and improving wellbeing.

Sir Anthony, vice chancellor of the University of Buckingham, was speaking at the universities Ultimate Wellbeing in Education Conference, about the need to improve young people's sense of wellbeing.

He believes the soothing presence of animals such as dogs is a great approach to alleviate children’s anxiety, unhappiness and even poor concentration at school.

"Because children can relate to animals when they are hurt and anxious and sad in a way that they can't always with human beings.

"It will be a powerfully cost-effective way of helping children feel more secure at schools.

"It's very easy to do, it's very cost-effective, the evidence is very clear that it works, and every single school - primary, secondary, special - should have dogs.

"It's hard to think of an easier, quicker benefit," he said.

Also, in attendance at the conference was Damian Hinds, UK education secretary, who spoke in support of bringing dogs into schools, claiming they can be "really uplifting", particularly for children with different ways of expressing themselves.

But he added there were no current plans for a “central dog policy.”