Introducing Rolo


It is with great excitement that we are teaming up with Service and Therapy Animals Australia to launch the PAWS in Schools program at Newbury Primary School. This unique, innovative program has been designed to enhance the wellbeing of our students. Our Wellbeing Support Dog will work at Newbury Primary School to support students with social and emotional learning needs, under the guidance and supervision of their handler and other school staff.

Our Wellbeing Support Dog is owned by the school, is suitably trained and will be integrated into the school community.
Well-trained, confident, happy therapy dogs can be an invaluable resource for supporting the social and emotional learning of students, as well as fostering a sense of community spirit.

There are many recognised benefits from working or visiting with a Wellbeing Support Dog. These include:

  • reduced stress and anxiety, including decreased learner anxiety and behaviours
  • improved physical and emotional wellbeing
  • improved self-esteem, empathy and interpersonal skills
  • improved relationship building and ability to pick up on social cues
  • improved attendance (for disengaged students or students at risk of disengaging).

Examples of activities students may engage in with the Wellbeing Support Dog include:

  • petting and/or hugging the dog
  • speaking to and reading to the dog
  • giving the dog commands that the dog is trained to respond to such as sit, stay, shake, high 5, along with providing treat rewards

 The following procedures will be enforced when the Wellbeing Support Dog is working at school:

  • When the Wellbeing Support Dog is on school grounds they will be under the supervision of a dedicated handler or staff member. The Wellbeing Support Dog will not be unsupervised or alone with students. A safe area separate to the school classrooms and offices will be allocated to the Wellbeing Support Dog and their handler where they will spend time when they are not working with students.
  • The handler will ensure that the Wellbeing Support Dog does not pose a health and safety risk to any student, employee, or other person at school and that the Wellbeing Support Dog is brought to school only when properly groomed, bathed, free of illness or injury and of the temperament appropriate for working with the school community.
  • In the event the school is made aware that the dog triggers a student’s health condition (for example, allergies or asthma), the school will notify the student’s parent or carer and ensure appropriate steps are implemented to minimise health risks.
  • The Wellbeing Support Dog will be appropriately identified while on school grounds by wearing a blue harness.
  • No student or staff member will be required to interact with the Wellbeing Support Dog. If a student indicates that they wish to overcome any fear of dogs, they can be supported to do so with coaching in a controlled environment with the Wellbeing Support Dog and their handler.
  • The Wellbeing Support Dog program will be communicated to parents and carers at the beginning of the year in the school newsletter and on student enrolment. In these communications, parents and carers will be given the opportunity to ‘opt out’ of the program for their child, raise any concerns or update student medical information (such as allergies or asthma) which may be triggered by a visit from the Wellbeing Support Dog.

About Rolo:

Rolo is a Miniature Groodle puppy. Our puppy is owned by the school but will live with Belinda Rae (Assistant Principal). Belinda will be the designated primary handler who will be responsible for the housing and welfare of Rolo. Belinda will complete the required training and together with Kate Plant (Assistant Principal) will manage Rolo when he is on school grounds. Rolo has a hypoallergenic coat, playful demeanour, and a love for human contact.

We look forward to seeing Rolo around the school grounds and being part of our wonderful community.




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