A DOG which supports pupils with learning difficulties at a Bournemouth primary school has been nominated for a Hero Pet award.

Collie cross Patch is a much-loved member of the team at St Michael’s Primary School, helping more than 600 children feel settled and secure on a daily basis.

He works three days a week alongside his owner Bob Kennedy, the school’s head teacher, and is involved in helping children with learning difficulties and those who have emotional needs who attend ELSA, a support group that stands for Emotional Literacy Support Assistance.

Patch has now reached the final of the Amplifon Awards for Brave Britons.

The awards set up in honour of Amplifon’s founder, WWII hero Major Charles Holland, are in their second year and celebrate remarkable people and pets. The finalists will be judged by a panel including Falklands war veteran Simon Weston, who is an ambassador for Amplifon.

Patch has encouraged positive behaviour and helped children suppress emotional outbursts, just with his presence. While some children just like to pat him, others take him out for a walk or to play in the playground during one-to-one or small group sessions with their support workers.

When the school’s previous dog left, Mr Kennedy bought two-year-old Patch as a puppy, training him to work with the children himself.

He said the school was “delighted” about Patch’s nomination.

“Patch brings children out of their shell and we’ve seen a marked difference in a lot of children. One child didn’t speak a lot and, because of Patch, he spoke to me more in two weeks than he had done in the five years he’d been at school. The children find him a great comfort and he improves their confidence massively.”

Giuseppe Manzo, general manager for Amplifon UK & Eire, said: “We received some fantastic entries in the Hero Pet category and the four finalists truly embody the heroism shown by Charles Holland.”

The winners will be announced at a ceremony at the Army and Navy Club in London on Tuesday, October 17.