A TAUNTON school is welcoming a new arrival this week - of the four-legged variety.

Along with the new intake of pupils, Bonzo the miniature schnauzer will be officially heading through the doors of Taunton Academy in September, in his new role as therapy dog.

Also the family pet of teacher Tamara Dixon, Bonzo's breed is known for its calm and caring nature.

He has had lots of early socialisation with children at the home of his breeder and is having additional training to ensure his suitability to work with the academy. He has started his transition work into school with Mrs Dixon and is settling in well; getting used to the community, environment and routines.

Mrs Dixon, who is Head of Year 9, said: “It’s recognised that children's emotional wellbeing is at the root of positive behaviour and success with socialising, as well as in the classroom.

"A dog can support children who are anxious about school and could be the reason that they want to come in every morning.

“There is an increasing body of research to support the benefit of a dog in school. Reading dogs are being used to help children develop their literacy and therapy dogs to provide comfort and reassurance to children with anxiety and self confidence issues.

"Children with trouble managing their behaviour could learn to care for the dog and they can be helpful in de-escalating anger.

"Reading dogs can help boost children's confidence and fluency.”