A school in Penarth has introduced four alpacas to help students' mental health and wellbeing.
Action for Children’s Headlands School in Penarth introduced the four 'calm and gentle' Peruvian alpacas to the school grounds, with students being involved in caring for the animals and helping to develop their outdoor space.
The school already has a companion dog, King Charles Spaniel Dexter, who has been helping pupils at the school with their mental health, along with a number of hens.
The school says that the animals have had a a big impact on pupils' mental health and wellbeing, particularly during the coronavirus pandemic.
Teacher David Gillingham said: ‘We are redeveloping a huge area of our outdoor space for the alpacas and hens and have a group of students working with us on the project that have really flourished.
"Where they have been previously unengaged in academic work, they have relished the physical work and the autonomy we give them in building and maintaining the space. Their mental health has definitely improved, they love the animals and some are keen to work as landscape gardeners when they leave school."
Casey Jones, 15, a student at the school said: "I enjoy working outdoors and caring for the alpacas. They are lovely and interesting animals that seem to have a calming affect on other students too.
"We are building feeding stations and picnic tables for everyone to come and enjoy the animals.
"This part of school is really good for me. When I came to Headlands last year, I was angry but I’m much better now, the atmosphere here is great and working with the animals has also helped me a lot."