Barbara the dog helps St Peter's Anglican Primary School students

St Peter's Anglican Primary School's new teaching assistant is having a 'paw-sitive' effect on students.

The Campbelltown school has hired Barbara the Groodle (Golden Retriever cross Poodle) to help students learn.

Headmaster Brendan Gorman said the idea to get a school dog came from a student.

"I meet with each student throughout the year so they can ask questions or give us ideas and this particular student asked if the school could get a dog," he said.

"My first thought was, 'why not?'

"So we looked into all the details, what was possible, what breeds would be suitable and we learnt about all the benefits of having a therapy dog.

"We learnt about other schools that had done this and had success too."

Barbara is the beloved pet of one of the school's teachers.

"She came in on a trial basis but now she is pretty much a permanent fixture at the school," Mr Gorman said.

"We have her two days a week and one of the teaching assistants is responsible for taking her around to different groups.

"She has been such a hit with the students, we think we'll keep her on."

Mr Gorman said Barbara was helping students to learn English, she was helping students learn to read and she sat with students during counselling sessions.

"Some kids who have difficulty reading can read to Barbara rather than reading to an adult," he said.

"She has a friendly, non-judgemental face and we are seeing great results.

"She also sits with kids and comforts them during counselling sessions.

"It takes some of the stress away from students and they benefit from the extra connection."

Mr Gorman encouraged other schools to consider getting a therapy dog.

"It's something a little different but we are seeing great results," he said.

"I would definitely like to see it in more schools but it has to be the right dog and the right breed."