PUPILS at a Rishton school got a paw-some surprise with the arrival of Larry the dog.

The 14-week-old cockapoo arrived at St Peter and St Paul’s Primary School at the start of term and headteacher Sara Clarkson believes the pooch has had a positive impact on children and staff.

She said: “The idea came from a conference I was at and I chatted to another headteacher and they told me that they had one in school.

“Numerous research studies have shown the positive benefits of having a school dog or therapy dog and it has been happening in some schools across the UK for the last few years and is becoming increasingly popular in Lancashire schools.

“We have done a lot of research to make sure that he is the right breed as cockapoos are good for any allergy sufferers as they are low shedding of fur.

“It has been superb for the kids as some get to take him out for a walk on a rota basis and then also learn about feeding him.

“It has just brought a smile to everyone’s faces and the children light up when they see him.

“They can walk past the gate and go and stroke him and talk to him.

“We have also had a lot of good reaction on social media to the news too.

“He is an absolute delight, has a lovely personality and loves everyone he meets.”

The children have enjoyed getting the chance to know him and sometimes even read stories to him.

Mrs Clarkson added: “When Larry is settled he will be helping to support children with their reading and particularly those who may be reluctant to read to an adult.

“Reading to dogs has been proven to help children develop literacy skills and building confidence as their presence has a calming effect.

“He has also helped one of our students Isobelle who was nervous about dealing with dogs.”

Isobelle Hartley, aged 10, said: “I feel much more comfortable with Larry as I was nervous at first about being around dogs.

“I really like him and I feel safe around him and I really like to stroke him.”

Claudia Walsh-Tyrer, aged eight, said: “He is so cute and does lots of good things.”