Therapy dog helps boost confidence and reduce nerves as students prepare for exams

A therapy dog visited more than 40 Ron Dearing UTC students to provide friendly support as they prepared for their English speaking and listening exams.

George, a Red Fox Labrador, attended the school with his owner Margaret Such as Year 10 students read their speeches aloud ahead of their assessments, helping to boost their confidence and reduce any nerves.

The visit was organised in conjunction with Underdog International, a charity which aims to positively impact one million children and dogs by 2025 through its “Dogs in Schools” programme, global education projects and dog adoption initiatives.

The charity specialises in enhancing education through therapy dogs and celebrating the bond between dogs and people.

George’s visit also marked the charity’s week-long fundraising event, “The Great British Bark Off”, which provides educational activities in schools to improve emotional and mental wellbeing.

Staff and students raised £25 for the charity by selling biscuits suitable for both dogs and people. Students also learnt more about reading dog body language and dog safety, as well as more information on the charity, during lessons leading up to the session.

Alice Dobson, SENDCo at Ron Dearing UTC, who organised the visit, said: “George and Margaret’s visit was great for the students.

“George was so calm and chilled out and everyone loved being around him.

“Having the opportunity to read their speeches to George and Margaret was fantastic and gave them a chance to speak in an alternative environment to the classroom, which really helped.

“Speaking and listening is an assessed part of the students’ English GCSE and they will receive a separate certificate for it, which meant George’s visit was even more valuable.

“We hope to have more dog visits through our partnership with Underdog International in the future.”

Year 10 students Freddie Walton, 14, and George Sage, 15, read their speeches to George and Margaret


Student Freddie Walton, 14, said: “George enjoyed listening to my speech about dogs and I enjoyed meeting him.

“I wrote a speech about XL Bully dogs and the changes in the law on owning them. Reading my speech to George and Margaret will help keep me calm during my exam and the visit was a wonderful idea.”

Year 10 student Natasha Hurd, 15, was delighted to meet George


Fellow student Natasha Hurd, 15, said: “George was so cute and we all loved stroking him.

“My speech is about mental health and how it impacts other people. I read it to George and Margaret and the experience will help with my exam. I feel more confident now.”

Year 10 student Seb Pearson, 14, with George


Seb Pearson, 14, wrote his speech on water accessibility and the importance of having access to clean water across the world.

He said: “I was comforting to have George around while we read our speeches. Margaret liked my idea and it was a good opportunity to practice before we’re assessed.”

For more information about Underdog International, visit

Ron Dearing UTC engineering students impress Reckitt global leaders

Ron Dearing UTC students wowed global research and development (R&D) leaders in an international event celebrating science and sustainability.

Year 12 engineering students snapped up the opportunity to share their inspiring ideas with the Reckitt Global Research and Development (R&D) Leadership Team, led by Chief R&D Officer Dr Angela Naef, in a Festival of Science organised by Reckitt, one of the school’s Founding Partners.

The festival was part of the company’s second global three-day The Science Inside Symposium, which brought together 250 Reckitt scientists, partners and leaders from across the globe, in person and online, live from the company’s Hull Campus.

Four groups of Ron Dearing UTC students presented their thoughts on how the world-leading health, hygiene and nutrition business could become more sustainable in its approach to water, heating, transport and waste before answering questions from the experts.

Ideas from Ron Dearing UTC students ranged from rainwater harvesting benefits and plastic bottle recycling options, to reducing carbon emissions through heating modifications and electric transport.

From left, Yazid Fakunle, Jay Andrews, Rilee Agius and Finley Nichols, all Year 12 engineering students at Ron Dearing UTC, pictured with Reckitt Chief Research and Development (R&D) Officer, Dr Angela Naef, and Dr Bruce Charlesworth, Chief Medical Officer and Hull Campus Lead at Reckitt.


The winning UTC teams, voted by Reckitt experts, will be announced in the coming weeks and they will have one-to-one sessions with the company’s sustainability experts, as prizes for Best Innovation and Best Presentation.

Dr Naef said: “I’m always blown away by the creativity and boundless, unexpected ideas the students share with us. It’s this little gift of great imagination.

“I fundamentally believe the responsibility of professionals, like us, is to be role models to the next generation. This is the opportunity and responsibility we have to continue to build the future of scientists, engineers and experts.

“I hope all of the children went home and shared their day with their families and loved ones and were able to shine in that moment because of the experience they had. But I also know we went home with those stories and memories too. It’s amazing to feel inspired and excited by this event and their ideas.”

The Festival of Science celebrated the power of science and aimed to inspire the next generation of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) leaders.

The Science Inside Symposium incorporated Reckitt’s annual Sustainability Conference, reflecting the importance of science in developing sustainable solutions for a greener future.

The event was supported by The Sir James Reckitt Charity, which was founded by industrialist, Quaker and philanthropist Sir James more than 100 years ago.

The involvement of young people in the event underlined Reckitt’s commitment to inspiring and nurturing the next generation of scientists, especially in the city where the business was founded 184 years ago.

Since its humble beginnings as a starch mill in Hull in 1840, Reckitt has grown to become the globally trusted business it is today, and its brands, including Dettol, Gaviscon, Nurofen, Strepsils, Vanish and more, are household names.

Ron Dearing UTC Year 12 engineering students Aoife Curran-Smirk, left, and Lillie-Mae Bayles pictured with Reckitt Chief Research and Development (R&D) Officer, Dr Angela Naef, and Dr Bruce Charlesworth, Chief Medical Officer and Hull Campus Lead at Reckitt, following their presentation.


The event also showcased careers in science, technology and engineering, while nurturing students’ enthusiasm to potentially follow those paths as they consider their next steps after sixth form.

Glenn Jensen, Senior Assistant Principal – Employer Engagement at Ron Dearing UTC, said: “This opportunity from Reckitt is so important because it helps our students to build resilience and confidence, while also allowing innovation to flow freely.

“Every Ron Dearing student who chooses engineering as a subject studies sustainability and it’s in the hands of every individual to become more sustainable.

“The more engineers we can produce for industry who have this mindset, the better. We’re incredibly proud of our students’ ideas and efforts, and also grateful to everyone at Reckitt. It’s an excellent opportunity for them on a global scale.”

Dr Bruce Charlesworth, Chief Medical Officer and Hull Campus Lead at Reckitt, said: “I love the students’ unfiltered enthusiasm. We often put too much realism and practicality into things, looking at what we can’t do. They have totally focused on the art of the possible.

“Days like this give them genuine presenting experience and I hope it inspires them because that’s what it’s all about. They will need these skills in the workplace in their future careers.”