The NASUWT is aware that a growing number of schools are utilising dogs, other than assistance/guide dogs, on site for a variety of purposes.

We have produced this guidance to assist members when considering purely the health and safety implications of having dogs on site in schools. As such, this should not be seen as a comment on the perceived educational benefits/merits of having non-assistance dogs on site.

The presence of non-assistance dogs on site does raises a number of health and safety issues that should be considered by the employer/school management. These include ensuring:

  1. the dog is suitable for the age range of pupils present;

  2. a clear protocol exists for how the dog should be utilised;

  3. staff are consulted in advance, especially in regard to phobias and allergies;

  4. the health and safety of pupils, especially in regard to phobias and allergies, is considered;

  5. a risk assessment for the dog and its activities are shared with all relevant staff;

  6. the purpose of the dog is clear;

  7. appropriate insurance cover is in place;

  8. the welfare needs of the dog are met;

  9. clear procedures and responsibilities are in place for cleaning up after the dog; and

  10. a clear reporting procedure is in place should there be an incident with a dog.

Additionally, members should not be required to attend to a dog or be forced to accept a dog into their classroom.

In particular, if members have cynophobia (fear of dogs) or an allergy to dogs, they should report this to school management and request an individual risk assessment, even if the dog will not be present where they are working, as dog hair etc. can travel substantial distances or linger after the dog has been present.

The Dogs Trust also has comprehensive guidance on the use of dogs in schools.

If members have concerns around the use of a dog in their school, these should be raised with management and/or the NASUWT School Representative.

If an inadequate response from management is obtained, contact the NASUWT to obtain further advice.