Four-legged friends are help­ing to take the stress out of ex­ams

Macclesfield Express - - SCHOOLS NEWS -

STU­DENTS at the King’s School wel­comed some four-legged friends to school to help them un­wind from their fran­tic re­vi­sion timetable.

Vet John Yarwood, who has prac­tised from Wright and Morten Vet­eri­nary Prac­tice in Cum­ber­land Street for 40 years, to­gether with top lo­cal gun dog trainer Matthew Ker­foot and his son Cyrus, a King’s pupil, brought 10 work­ing gun dogs to meet the school’s exam can­di­dates.

John, a for­mer King’s pupil, said: “Dogs do bring down stress lev­els. Peo­ple who own dogs have fewer heart at­tacks and fewer stress re­lated con­di­tions and quite sim­ply they get you out into the coun­try­side.

“If I didn’t have my dogs I’d never do as much walk­ing as I do now, es­pe­cially on a dull dis­mal win­ter’s day.”

Matthew Ker­foot, who gave up life in phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal and food man­u­fac­ture to teach other peo­ple how to train their dogs and also takes dogs in for res­i­den­tial training, added: “The great plea­sure is training your dog, see­ing how it im­proves and see­ing how well it re­sponds. It gives you im­mense sat­is­fac­tion to work as a team.”

El­lie Ham­monds, 16, who is about to sit 10 GCSEs said: “It’s a big time in our lives, just as I am sure it was for all those who have sat their ex­ams be­fore. You can’t help think­ing that it is go­ing to shape your life and you must do your best. I have two dogs my­self, Bil­lie and Reg­gie, and yes they are a source of com­fort and joy at this time.”

The doggy de-stress pro­gramme also saw a pre­sen­ta­tion by Sup­port Dogs UK on how dogs of­fer vi­tal sup­port to the wheel­chair users and those with other dis­abil­i­ties.

King’s learn­ing sup­port teacher Natalie Davis also staged a num­ber of Mind­ful­ness ses­sions to teach prac­ti­cal strate­gies to ap­ply around exam time to help the pupils keep calm and man­age stress.

She said: “Re­search sug­gests that Mind­ful­ness can help young peo­ple to con­cen­trate and learn more ef­fec­tively, to man­age anx­i­ety, to think more clearly and to per­form bet­ter when un­der pres­sure. Our pupils have em­braced th­ese ses­sions just be­fore they start their study leave and ex­ams”

King’s se­nior teacher Ruth Roberts, who or­gan­ised the day, said: “An es­sen­tial el­e­ment of ex­am­i­na­tion tech­nique is be­ing able to re­lax. Just like a sportsper­son, you per­form bet­ter when you are re­laxed and the doggy de-stress pro­gramme was a way of re­liev­ing the strain.”

●● Vet John Yarwood with Matthew Ker­foot in the cen­tre their dogs with King’s pupils and teacher Ruth Roberts.

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