CHILDREN are being helped with reading and anxiety thanks to a new furry friend at school.

Albus the schnoodle has been meeting pupils at a school in Dunmow.

Rodings Primary pupils were introduced to the pup and he is set to become a very important part of the school community.

Albus, who is half schnauzer and half poodle, is the pet of deputy headteacher Darryl Crawley, of Halstead.

Mr Crawley and his wife Alison, who is also also a teacher at Fordham Primary School in Colchester, introduced Albus to their family just over a year ago.

He was a family pet for the couple, but they wanted a dog who would get on well with children in the hope of of introducing him into the schools they work at.

Mr Crawley said Albus will be at school once a week to help children during reading and mentoring sessions.

He said: “My wife and I met at a previous school where the head brought her dog in.

“Having a dog in the school can impact littering because the children will not want to throw their litter about if there is a dog at the school. He will also help promote reading.

“There is research into the wellbeing of being around a dog and why it benefits schools – there are lots of benefits.”

Albus was trained ready for his new role at the school by dog expert Selina Fitzgerald, who runs Hedingham Hounds in Sible Hedingham.

Selina brought her own dog Tucker, a Staffordshire terrier, to the school to teach children about dog behaviours and signs.

She said: “It’s so important we do more because schools don’t teach stuff like this.

“When I was at Rodings School one of the teachers came up to me after and said ‘Wow even I learned something’.

“It’s so nice to know owners who have had dogs for years don’t understand and I am able to give them that information.

“The deputy head of the school said there was a buzz in the school the next day, and children were still talking about it.”

Selina said her children, who are three and one, benefit from having Tucker around when they are reading.

She said: “My kids pretend to read a book and he lays with them and when I read them a story in bed he curls up with them.”