PUPILS have welcomed a furry new friend at an Oxford school.

St Gregory the Great Catholic School in East Oxford is gaining classroom assistance from Rhubarb the dog, an eight-month-old Labradoodle.

The friendly pet has been visiting some of the all-through academy's 1,100 pupils.

Head of school Sean Tucker said: "With mental health high on schools' agendas, introducing a dog in schools has become common practice.

"Rhubarb is already becoming a firm favourite with staff and students."

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One Year 11 student said: ""It's cool - he's lively and he's fun. Rhubarb is such a good dog, it changes the atmosphere and makes things less stressful."

Another said they enjoyed reading to Rhubarb.

According to Banbury-based charity Dogs for Good, school dogs can bring about improved behaviour, social interaction and sense of responsibility in the classroom.