Therapy dog to provide wellbeing and mental health support to pupils at Peterborough Academy

  • Watch ITV Anglia's Stuart Leithes report from Nene Park Academy

A Peterborough Academy is supporting the mental health of students by introducing a trainee therapy dog. 

Luna the Cavapoo puppy has been introduced at Nene Park Academy to support student and staff wellbeing. 

Luna’s owner, Laura Oxley, runs the school's Special Educational Needs and Disabilities hub.

She said: “Luna can be used in counselling sessions when she is fully trained, to sit with a student, a reading buddy, so there's lots and lots of ways we can utilise her effectively within the school."

Luna will support all pupils and staff at Nene Park Academy Credit: ITV Anglia

There have been numerous studies which suggest the benefits of therapy dogs in schools. 

Evidence suggests dogs can reduce stress and anxiety and provide comfort to children going through challenging situations.

Year 11 pupil Adam Born said: "It's actually pretty special because I don't have a dog of my own anymore, so being able to have Luna is the next best thing. She just puts a smile on my face whenever I see her."

3 month old Luna is training to become a fully fledged Pet Therapy Dog Credit: ITV Anglia

A recent survey conducted by Young Minds found that around 80% of young people with mental health needs had reported their condition worsening due to the coronavirus pandemic

Robin Grover, Principal at Nene Park Academy, said: “The therapeutic value that these Therapy Dogs provide to students, particularly students which have special educational needs or anxiety or need a place to calm down and take some time out - that's generally the reason why. We are really looking forward to see what Luna can bring to the students."

Luna is only three months old but its hoped after training she will become a fully fledged Pet Therapy Dog who will be able to support all students and staff at the Academy.

Mental Health Awareness Week starts on Monday and this year's theme is nature.

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