A SCHOOL has banned dogs from its playground after concerns from pupils and parents.

Parents at St John the Baptist RC School, in Thames Avenue, have successfully lobbied for a playground ban on the pets of parents and visitors.

It comes after 11-month-old Ava-Jayne Corless was killed after being savaged by an illegal pit bull terrier at a home in Blackburn.

Headteacher at St John’s Kieran Heakin, said guide dogs and support dogs would be admitted access, but other dogs were banned.

Mr Heakin said the idea came from parents and had been unanimously approved by both the parents council at the school and a council representing pupils.

He said: “This idea came from parents themselves. Though we’ve not seen any violent dogs at the school, it’s reasonable to say recent incidents are in the back of their minds.

"When a parent hears of a violent dog incident, it’s natural for them to review how well their children are protected. They have brought this complaint to us and because we have the parent council in place they’ve been able to see a good result and have their complaint taken seriously.

“We’ve not had any incidents of concern but some of the children do not like it when there’s a dog on the playground.

“As well as some children feeling nervous around dogs, we have some children who have allergies. Even when a dog is quite a nice dog, they often get very excited around young children and can be quite rambunctious.

“It just makes sense to make a rule keeping them off the premises, because we can’t know each dog’s background.”

Mr Heakin said one parent at the school had a visual impairment and she also approved of the general ban. She had agreed to make sure her dog was wearing a vest at all times to show he was a trained support dog.

A council of eight parents had given the plan the thumbs-up and a children’s council had also unanimously backed the ban on dogs.