Following National Pet Day, King’s Schools have been celebrating their large canine community and the positive effects this has on staff and pupils. Speaking at a recent conference, educationalist Sir Anthony Seldon, who was a key speaker at the school last summer, said: “Every school should have a dog or another pet to reduce stress in the classroom.” King’s couldn’t agree more, with the schools currently home to over 15 lovable pooches.
Headmaster at King’s College, Richard Biggs, has two friendly dogs, Jasper and Archie, and each boarding house has its own resident canine. The school music department is also overseen by Hebe, a Chihuahua x Bishon Frise, and chocolate Labrador Tilly can often be found exploring the archives. At King’s Hall, Snoops, a charming Cockapoo, can be regularly seen cuddling up with the children. Somewhat of a news hound, he regularly writes for the school’s newsletter and even has his own Instagram account.
Mental wellbeing is paramount to King’s, and the positive effect that pets can have on this is huge. As well as animals, the schools have a number of staff who are qualified mindfulness practitioners. One boarding house even has its own mindfulness room, which is open to all pupils, while another is home to a trained therapy dog.
Commenting on the link between pets and mental wellbeing, drama teacher and mindfulness practitioner at King’s College, Alastair Wood said: “Dogs have always had a special place in the school community. As staff live on site all year round, pets are of course a key part of that. They help to create a family atmosphere which is key to a successful boarding school.” He added: “I fully encourage other schools to adopt this approach. It is something that we have done for years, and I have no doubt it is an essential part of the unique, happy atmosphere here at King’s.”