Coni the Dog Helps Ely St. Mary’s Children with Reading

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Children at Ely St Mary’s CofE Junior school in Ely have been given a helping paw with their reading from Coni the dog.

The school – part of the Diocese of Ely Multi-Academy Trust – is the first in the area to benefit from the Paws 2 Read scheme, run by Therapy Dogs Nationwide (TDN).

Border terrier Coni comes into school once a week with her owner Amanda Wall to help four children gain confidence with their reading. Initially a trial, they hope to expand the scheme further.

Coni has become a regular visitor to the school and has her own doggy bed and bowl in the staffroom.

Headteacher Beccy Ireland-Curtis said: “This is a wonderful opportunity to allow children to have extra reading time alongside a furry member of our team. It embraces our holistic approach to helping children within school and we are delighted to have welcomed Coni and Amanda into school.”

TDN volunteer Amanda Wall added: “Coni and I are very happy to have been invited into St Marys C of E Junior school. We have already seen an improvement in the reading of the children we help, and look forward to a long relationship with the school. “

All dogs at Therapy Dogs Nationwide are temperament assessed by trained assessors and must be healthy and well presented.  The dogs and their volunteers also visit hospitals and retirement homes.

Although Ely St Mary’s is the first school to have Coni visit, other schools in the Ely area have shown an interest and Therapy Dogs Nationwide are hoping to become an establish part of the educational landscape in the area.