Lancaster school is a trailblazer for comfort in the classroom

Some of the slippers worn by children at Lancaster Steiner School.
Some of the slippers worn by children at Lancaster Steiner School.

New research has discovered that allowing children to wear slippers in school helps boost their grades – but at one Lancaster school they’ve been leading the way for years.

The Steiner School in Lune Road already encourages its pupils to wear slippers throughout the day, and both teachers and parents say they have seen a noticeable difference among the children.

Upper class teacher Louise Duirwyn said the school, which has 43 children aged three to 11, finds children feel more at home and comfortable.

“They spend so much time here that it’s important they feel comfortable,” she said.

“It has always been really positively received as a nice thing to do.

“We are very focused on the well-being of children and having a positive experience in school and I certainly think being relaxed in the place where you spend so much of your day is really important, and also that they have a homely environment to learn in.”

The novel idea hit the national news this week after Bournemouth university professor Stephen Heppell said he found children behaved better without shoes.

Prof Heppell researched the topic for more than 10 years in 25 countries.

Shoeless learning has been carried out in schools in Scandinavia and New Zealand and learning centres in other countries.

Research has shown children seem to behave gentler and bullying is reduced.

Noise is also reduced and it’s more hygienic, with carpets being cleaner and reduced wear and tear on furniture.

Children are more willing to sit on floors and soft furnishings, creating more space for collaboration, presentation and role play.

Cherry Canovan, whose 10-year-old son Lawrie goes to Lancaster Steiner School, said: “I think it’s lovely. They get to be really comfortable in school which I think helps their concentration and learning. I also think it gives the school a really homely feel which allows them to feel emotionally comfortable as well as physically.

“Lawrie started at the school two years ago and I think this helped with his transition as he was coming to a really welcoming place that made him feel at home.”