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

The school 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.”

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.