Woody the puppy helps classmates

Lily Davie, aged 11, Woody and Vicky Jobson.
Lily Davie, aged 11, Woody and Vicky Jobson.

A four-legged classmate has been having a “remarkable” effect on youngsters with learning difficulties.

Five-month-old border terrier Woody, has been recruited as Stubbin Wood School’s official dog and spends his days either sleeping or wandering around the classrooms.

His gentle nature has proved a hit with pupils and his presence has had a calming influence during their reading and speech work.

Woody is owned and looked after by Stubbin Wood teacher Vicky Jobson, who is also responsible for the school’s current collection of animals – one rabbit, a guinea pig and six chickens.

She brings Woody in every day and pupils feed him, groom him and take turns to walk him.

Vicky said: Woody has a lovely temperament and has really settled in. Already he has provided a calming effect on our pupils. We have even had one lad with profound and multiple learning difficulties, who has limited speech, who went home one day and mentioned Woody’s name.

“And another pupil who doesn’t really engage with us has started to talk more because he is able to refer to Woody in conversation.”

Head teacher Lee Floyd added: “It is still early days, but he is already having a remarkable effect on our pupils.

“I think that he will really help those pupils with autistic spectrum disorders, who find it difficult to relate to other people, but who will appreciate the fact that while Woody is sociable and wants attention, he goes about things in a non-threatening way.”