Page last updated at 13:06 GMT, Friday, 11 December 2009

Dog falls foul of school inspectors

Head teacher and pupils of The New School
The head says pupils pet the dog if they are upset

A West Highland terrier found itself in the dog house with school inspectors after being taken in by a head teacher.

Rosie, an 11-year-old rescue dog, was in danger of being banned from The New School in Exminster, Devon.

Ofsted inspectors were concerned that pupils were petting the dog and that she was allowed to roam the corridors and gardens of the school.

They asked for a risk assessment and eventually she was allowed to stay, the Times Educational Supplement reports.

'Unbelieveable'

Head teacher Michelle Taylor took the dog from a rescue home 18 months ago and brought her in to school after checking she was safe.

She says Rosie is "the most docile animal you've ever seen in your life" and that the children love her and "give her a hug if they're upset".

She told the Times Educational Supplement (TES) she was confused about why the inspector was so concerned about the dog.

"I couldn't believe it to be honest.

"Occasionally she will go to the toilet, but the children tell us and we clean it up."

This elderly small dog appears well socialised and pupils respond to it readily
Ofstfed report

Concerns were raised about the dog and the safety of the building during a spot check in February.

There was a follow-up visit from England's schools inspectors Ofsted a month ago.

This time, the dog received a good report.

The inspector wrote: "Following the unannounced visit, the school was required to conduct risk assessments relating to the safety of the premises and the presence of a pet dog."

He added: "This elderly small dog appears well socialised and pupils respond to it readily when it ventures away from the head teacher's office.

"A risk assessment has been undertaken and pupils have been instructed to wash their hands after handling or stroking the dog. Some pupils were noted doing this.

"No concerns have been expressed by parents."

'Health and safety

A spokeswoman for Ofsted said: "As an independent school, Ofsted inspects it at the request of the Department for Children, Schools and Families to check that it has met the appropriate regulations.

"Between the inspection and the progress monitoring visit, Ofsted made a further visit, at the request of the DCSF, to follow up a complaint concerning health and safety of the children owing to poor repair of the building and the presence of a dog."

The school was given an "outstanding" rating for the education it provides when it was fully inspected in 2007.



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