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Wyvern students learn about importance of animals to society as part of animal education club

Wyvern Academy, part of Consilium Academies, is hosting weekly visits from Durham Police Community Dogs, Jet and Ben, as part of the school’s “Critter Club” which is helping students understand the important role of animals in society.


Jet and Ben, along with local Community Engagement Dog Handler, Claire Kerr, are visiting Wyvern Academy this term for three weekly sessions, giving Darlington students the opportunity to learn about how police dogs operate in protecting communities, as well as learning about life as a police dog handler. Jet and Ben have attended many schools and community engagement events in County Durham and Darlington, aiming to educate young people about staying safe in their community. 


As part of Wyvern’s co-curricular programme, which is a commitment to all students being enriched outside of the classroom, the school’s weekly Critter Club encourages students to learn about the variety of animals living in the school’s science department – including turtles, snakes, stick insects, giant African land snails and fish. The club aims to give students, many of whom have no pets at home, time to experience and learn more about the wonders of various animal species and their importance.


The club has helped many students with Special Education Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and those who experience anxiety. They have found that holding the animals has a calming effect. 


Kelly King, Teaching Assistant at Wyvern and passionate dog trainer in her spare time, is currently running further sessions for students by bringing her own dog, Freya, into school. Through hands-on dog training tutorials, Kelly is aiming to teach her students best practice in dog care and animal behaviour.


The club has received overwhelmingly positive feedback from students, who will each receive a certificate recognising their participation and awareness of animal basic care.


Owen Inglis, Headteacher at Wyvern Academy, part of Consilium Academies, said:

“Critter Club has been a roaring success amongst our students, who have thoroughly enjoyed meeting and learning about a variety of fascinating animals. This encourages them to be inquisitive about the world around them.


“Part of our school ethos is to uphold a caring community which supports wider society, and

I’m delighted to see our students and teachers fully embracing this.


“We can’t thank Jet, Ben, Claire, and the wider Durham Police force enough for giving our students the opportunity to learn about how essential animals can be in protecting the welfare of our community.”