Fudge the dog and owner, Ruth Thomas, are becoming well-known visitors to primary schools around Hackney. Ruth, who works for Dogs Trust, is one of a growing list of business volunteers who talk to children about the job they do as part of Inspire!’s Work Week programme.
St Dominic’s Catholic Primary School, Homerton, is the latest school to host the dog and her owner. Nursery class children were enthralled as Fudge was quietly led into their classroom. “Dogs Trust looks after dogs who have no home,” Ruth explained to the four and five year-olds.
She went on to describe the best way to care for a dog and how people working for Dogs Trust are involved in feeding and grooming the dogs, ensuring that they have toys to play with and get plenty of exercise. She also explained that if a dog is unwell, it is seen by a vet.
Some of the pupils helped Ruth illustrate her talk by taking it in turns to pick one of Fudge’s toys or a piece of equipment used to look after her out of a large carrier bag.
The children all behaved beautifully and responded well to Ruth’s request not to shout or surge forward to pat Fudge in case they scared her. Meanwhile, Fudge took things in her stride, lying quietly on her mat and rousing herself only briefly to play with her ball or eat a treat.
Other activities undertaken by St Dominic’s pupils during their Work Week included a visit to Jamie’s Italian restaurant by Year 4, where they took on the roles of serving staff and were challenged to help customers work out what they could afford to choose from the menu within a fixed budget. Year 2 children visited Shoreditch Fire Station and Year 5 took part in a marketing exercise with digital marketing agency iCrossing and branding agency The Living Group. Year 6 pupils worked with a lawyer and volunteers from recruitment consultants AON Hewitt, who helped them prepare a business presentation to pitch to a Dragons’ Den-style panel at the end of the week.
Work Week is one of Inspire!’s most successful programmes, providing tailored lesson plans, world of work visitors and workplace visits for every year group within a primary school. Nineteen Hackney primary schools have signed up to take part in Work Week during this school year and its fame is spreading. One school in Camden and two in Islington have also joined the scheme.