Primary school pupils will now take of their shoes before entering the classroom to aid learning
Being barefoot will boost the learning of children at West Thornton Primary School, according to research.
Teachers in the south London school have already started holding "shoeless" lessons.
The revolutionary technique improves behaviour and even reduces bully, claim experts.
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The enthusiastic pupils carried out their own research into the benefits of wearing no shoes in school as well, and presented it to their teachers.
The change was first suggested by pupils four years ago after hearing about research carried out at Bournemouth University and head teacher, Di Pumphery has seen vast improvements.
The youngsters originally wanted to protect new open plan classrooms and used the evidence from around the world of the benefits of going barefoot to back up their request.
I think it really does help concentration, focus and noise levels
Head teacher, Di Pumphery
The research by Professor Stephen Heppell, who studied lessons in 25 countries over ten years, listed a range of benefits including better behaviour, noise reduction and even a decrease in bullying.
Mrs Pumphrey said: “We built new classrooms and they were really proud of them and wanted to make sure they looked after them.
“They read up about the research and presented it to us to show us how being shoeless works.
The head teacher claims to have seen a vast improvement thanks to the initiative
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“Talk to any one of our children and they will all say they feel more relaxed, more comfortable and more focused on their learning.
“One child said, 'when I take my shoes off to learn I'm still and focused whereas when I have my shoes on it's like I'm going somewhere'.
“I think it really does help concentration, focus and noise levels.”
The shoeless idea, which is optional for students, is implemented alongside the “open learning zones” in the school – large, carpeted classrooms with up to 90 students from a year group in at a time.
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Experts claim being shoeless during lessons improves behaviour
Teachers at the school, which is rated as “outstanding” by Ofsted, educate pupils in small groups in the space, rather than with them at tables facing the front of classrooms.
There are comfy chairs and children can sit on the floor to work if they wish.
The Synaptic Trust academy met Key Stage 2 averages for its SATs last year, however Mrs Pumphrey said the children are learning “life skills” too.
She said: “They are learning a lot, over and above just reading, writing and maths.
“They are learning a lot of skills that are setting them up for life really.
The initiative is being pioneered by West Thornton Primary School
“The schools who work like this all over the world report the same benefits and nobody can say exactly why.
“Learning can happen in any space.
“You don't need 30 tables and chairs all facing the front for learning to happen and being shoeless is just one part of that.
“It's not a magic spell that will solve all the problems but it just helps children feel comfortable and ready for learning in these spaces.
“They are very much in control of their learning and take responsibility for their own learning.”
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