As I am sure you can imagine it’s always really exciting to be invited to visit a school and talk to the Headteacher (or Deputy Head) about Inkpots. When I was asked to go to meet the Deputy Head at Manor Field Primary in Burgess Hill, I was particularly thrilled as this was the school my children went to, and we have particularly fond memories. But one of the many innovations since their time was the introduction of a school dog – Bertie Button and I was just delighted to meet him on that first visit. I happened to see Bertie again last week when I went in to run the Inkpots session – which gave me the idea of writing a little bit about him and the concept of a school dog.
Bertie is an educational assistance dog and has been specially trained to work with children to motivate and reward them. He is just adorable, but talking to the pupils I see at Inkpots, he is clearly more than that.
Here is what Kartikeya has to say:
‘Bertie Button is a very cute dog and he is never rude. He is really obedient. He is an ambassador for the school, so he is in the Green Team. Bertie is an educational dog so he comes around our classes so that he can view what we are doing.
If we write a story and it is good quality, he will send back a certificate.’
Of course, Bertie’s presence in school is carefully managed and has been very well thought through. But research has shown that (to quote the school’s website)’ animals in schools can encourage children to respect all life, teach responsibility, motivate those children who are often not that attentive, help calm children down and improve academic achievement’.
I have heard of the use of dogs in hospitals and hospices and having worked for the Royal National Institute for Blind People for many years, I am well versed with working with guide dogs. Clearly, Bertie is such an asset at Manor Field – and I am impressed with the way that the children are very clear that he has such an important job to do.
To find out more about Bertie Button and the work of educational dogs, visit: