Schools

‘Spending time with a woolly alpaca is so good for stress’, says Kelvinside Academy

By Ellen Thomson at

A West End school has been de-stressing its pupils with cuddly alpacas.

The alpaca ‘therapets’ have been keeping pupils at Kelvinside Academy calm during the SQA exam diet.

Alpacas at Kelvinside Academy

Up close: cuddly alpacas make great therapets

The school came up with the unusual therapy to mark Mental Health Awareness Week (14 to 20 May).

The furry friends arrived as pupils sat their National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher Biology exams.

Provided by BobCat Alpacas in Edinburgh, eight alpacas took residence for the morning on the school’s grassy playing fields.

It gave pupils the opportunity to switch off from studying by spending time in the open air, petting an alpaca.

Alpacas and Kelvinside Academy

Stress: the school invited the animals in to mark Mental Health Awareness Week (14 to 20 May)

Deputy Rector Dan Wyatt is head of pastoral care at Kelvinside Academy.

Dan said: “Stress can be overwhelming during the exam period, so spending time with a woolly alpaca will hopefully have helped our pupils manage their stress levels and take a well-deserved breather.

“Benefits include slowing heart rate, reducing blood pressure, calming nerves, regulating breathing and elevating mood. It is so important to have a balanced approach to studying during exams.

“Take time away from study to relax, be mindful and keep perspective.

“The physiological and psychological benefits of human-animal bonding have long been recognised and recent research has also demonstrated that the mere act of stroking a dog or cat has exceptional benefits.”