'The children love her': Bella the Labradoodle puppy helps school scoop top award
PUBLISHED: 12:48 11 February 2020 | UPDATED: 13:07 11 February 2020
Town Close School
It has long been acknowledged, a dog is man's best friend.
And now a friendly puppy, hired for her ability to ease nerves, listen and bring a smile to anxious faces has helped a Norwich primary school pick up a prestigious award.
Bella, an Australian Labradoodle, officially joined Town Close School in December after pupils on the school council voted to get a school support dog.
Now, less than two months into her new role, Bella has helped Town Close to be named Pre-Prep and Prepatory School of the year at the Tes Independent School Awards.
Australian Labradoodles are a non-shedding breed known for their calm temperament and receptiveness to skilled training.
Before she joined the school Bella completed a four-week of training course and took temperament tests to get her ready for her role.
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Since joining Town Close, Bella has helped children with reading activities, provided a calming presence and become a firm favourite with pupils, parents and teachers alike.
Harry, a year five pupil said: "She is like the sun in the school" while William, also from year five said: "She makes us happier to go to school."
Max, from year six said: "Bella is good because she is fluffy, warm and furry. She calms you down when you are feeling stressed."
Stuart Coulthart, deputy headteacher, said: "The children love having her in school. They are genuinely excited to see her. It allows us to express love and kindness more readily."
Mr Nicholas Bevington, school headteacher added: "I am extremely proud that Town Close has won such a prestigious national award, recognising the achievement of our children and the huge success of a range of pupil-led initiatives.
"Our school is proof that children can achieve more than we would ever believe given the right values, inspiring teaching and space to discover themselves."
Town Close was named Pre-Prep and Preparatory School of the year 2020 at the Tes Independent School Awards, held in London on Friday, February 7.
Judges praised the school for its pupil-led innovations such as Bella and a gender-neutral uniform which was designed by the pupils.