Animals in schools
Many teachers keep animals in their classrooms, either as pets or as part of a teaching program. Undertaking to provide all of an animal's needs in the classroom is a major commitment and there are some special things that apply just to these situations.
Pets bring happiness and responsibility. When deciding whether to have a classroom pet, there is a lot to consider. Animals need continuous care. Classrooms may be regularly uninhabited for 63 hours at a stretch (5pm Friday to 8am Monday), let alone 4 or 5 weeks of summer holidays. That's plenty of time for something to go seriously wrong. Have a look at our page on classroom pets to see if this is a good idea for your classroom.
As well as having classroom companionship, you may be thinking about using animals during science lessons. These are normally short term programs where animals provide a particular educational outcome. Using animals as educational tools for the teaching of science is only legally permissible when there are no alternative (non-animal) methods that would achieve the same result. More details on the legal prerequisites for using animals in science teaching can be found on our Teaching using animals section.
Teaching agricultural subjects may require the use of livestock. Providing continuous, competent care can be challenging for schools. Animals owned by schools need the same attention and access to feed, water and veterinary care as on any farming property. There are some extra responsibilities under the law for farm animals kept on school farms. Read more in our section on School farms.