Last reviewed on 8 April 2022
School types: All · School phases: All
Ref: 8809

Get guidance on whether keeping a pet is right for your school. Learn about keeping and handling animals, and see examples of pet policies from schools.

Government guidance

The DfE doesn’t issue any school-specific guidance on keeping pets in schools.

If you decide to get a school pet, then you'll have to abide by the Animal Welfare Act 2006, which places a duty on animal owners to ensure their animal's welfare needs are met. These needs include:

  • Suitable environment
  • Suitable diet
  • Ability to exhibit normal behaviour patterns
  • Any need the animal has to be housed with, or apart from, other animals
  • Protection from pain, suffering, injury and disease

Charity guidance

The National Animal Welfare Trust, an animal charity, generally discourages the keeping of pets in school. This is partly because there is often no one available to care for the animal during school holidays.

If you do decide to keep a pet, appoint a member of staff to be responsible for it in the long term.

Alternatives to keeping pets

Ask a member