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Lealands High School

Lealands High School

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School Therapy Rabbits - FAQs

Q: Who is the legal owner of the rabbits, and who pays for their costs?  

A: The legal owner of the rabbits will be KS3 Team Leader, Mrs Strachan; she will bear the costs associated with owning the rabbits; the school budget and any funds raised will support the ongoing cost of insurance.  

Q: Will the rabbits be from a reputable breeder? 

A: Yes. The rabbits were purchased from a reputable breeder. Mrs Strachan visited the rabbits in their home and both parents were seen. These rabbits were specifically chosen for their temperament. 

Q: Has a risk assessment been undertaken? 

A: Yes. A full risk assessment is in place, which will be reviewed annually. We have carefully considered having rabbits in school and sought advice from many sources; including other schools that successfully have school rabbits.  

Q: Who is responsible for training? 

 A: Mrs Strachan will be the legal owner of the rabbits and, as a result, will be responsible for their initial training regarding being handled by students and adults. 

Q: How will the rabbits be toileted to ensure hygiene for all?  

A: In the interest of health and hygiene, our school rabbits will be taken to their litter regularly and not handled straight after feeding to allow them to be able to use their litter tray.  The staff in charge of the rabbits will ensure that this is cleared away appropriately, leaving no trace on the ground, cleaning the area with disinfectant if needed.  

Q: How will the rabbits’ welfare be considered? 

 A: The rabbits will regularly be given free time outside and kept inside a moveable pen and supervised by staff. The rabbits will have their own space in a hutch in Student Support where they will not be disturbed by students. The rabbits will be carefully trained over a period of time and will have unlimited access to food and water. We will work carefully to ensure the rabbits’ welfare is always considered and remove the rabbits from the school environment if we don’t feel they are happy.  

Q: How will this be managed where children have allergies?  

A: Students will not need to touch the rabbits, which will relieve the possibility of allergic reactions. We already manage a number of allergies at school and this will be no different for students and adults that are allergic to rabbits. Individual needs will always be met, and we are happy to work with parents to put additional control measures in place for individual allergies. Any students with allergies to rabbits will be built into the risk assessment as they are made known to the school.  

Q: My child is frightened of rabbits; how will you manage this? 

A: Access to the rabbits will be carefully managed and supervised and students do not need to have close contact with them if this has been expressed by parents. We hope to work closely with parents of students who are fearful of rabbits to alleviate their fear and to teach them how to manage this.

Q: Will other school rabbits be allowed in school? 

A: Allowing a rabbit onto the school site can only be approved by the Headteacher and for educational purposes. This will be considered on a case-by-case basis. 

Q: What type of rabbits are they?

A: They are Flemish rabbits.  They were born at the beginning of January 2024. This breed is known to be child-friendly, lively, gentle mannered, demonstrably affectionate yet sensitive and has outstanding trainability.