A DORSET school has told parents students’ bags will be “periodically” searched and a sniffer dog will be brought in in a bid to “protect them from the dangers of illicit drugs”.

Queen Elizabeth’s School (QE), in Wimborne, sent a letter to parents saying the move was in response to recent news items about “county lines”.

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The letter said: “As part of our determination to educate students about, and protect them from the dangers of illicit drugs, the Queen Elizabeth’s School has a programme of work that is delivered through assemblies and as part of the Curriculum for Life Programmes.

“In the light of recent news items about ‘county lines', we have arranged for a drugs sniffer dog to attend on one day during the week beginning July 4, 2022. This approach has also been taken by a number of schools locally.

“Ensuring that our school is a safe, drug free and healthy environment for all students to learn and develop is a priority and reflects our community’s values and expectations.

“It is with these goals in mind that we are undertaking this procedure. Your son/daughter will have had this explained to them by their tutor prior to the visit to prepare them.”

The letter said the sniffer dog will be “highly trained” and accompanied by an “expert handler” and a PCSO.

“The dog will move across the school from class to class and in the shared areas, such as the library and reception.

“Students will be asked to file past the dog who will indicate any concerns to his handler. The student’s parents would then be informed if, on further investigations, these concerns needed to be explored further.

“Periodically we will also be undertaking bag searches to ensure no banned substances, including tobacco, vapes and cigarettes have been brought into the school.”

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It comes as the school have erected a new fence, with one parent questioning with the “huge security fences” and sniffer dogs were necessary.

Katie Boyes, headteacher of QE School, said: “It is important to state that the use of a dog is not in reaction to an incident and there is not a drug problem at QE School.

“We want to make the school as safe as possible and like other local schools decided to invite a sniffer dog in with its handler.

“It is entirely a preventative measure and is designed to help reassure parents that we are doing everything to ensure their children are safe.

“The visit of the dog for a few hours is allied to our programme of work that educates the children about the dangers of drugs.

“The new fence has been put up because it is a safeguarding requirement, and it is the recommended height for safeguarding compliance within schools.”