A primary school in the UK is encouraging pupils to turn up to school in slippers after the headteacher became convinced that comfier footwear would lead to an improvement in pupils' grades.

Findern Primary School, a small rural school in Derby, introduced the policy after headteacher Emma Titchener came across a study claiming that "shoeless" children were more engaged in class and performed better than their peers.

The study, conducted by researchers at Bournemouth University, found pupils wearing slippers in the classroom typically arrived at school earlier, left later and read more during class.

The results of the research, which monitored more than 100 schools in 25 countries, including New Zealand over a decade, has prompted leading academics to call on teachers to implement the policy.


Speaking to The Telegraph, Titchener said that teachers had already observed significant improvements in academic performance.

"We're always trying to improve the experience for students, so when we came across the research we trialled it in one class and found some notable improvements in how students felt and performed in the classroom.

"It has had a real positive impact; the children are much calmer and more receptive to learning.

The pupils for more comfortable, they feel more at home and more in tune with the classes. The reception among children and teachers has been unanimously positive, and parents are also overwhelmingly supportive of it.

"Like anything you will always get some opposition to these things, but I think the idea that this makes the children less smartly dressed or less prepared for formal situations is a misconception."

Titchener added that although the new uniform guidelines were non-compulsory, nearly all of the students enrolled at the school had opted into wearing slippers over their outdoor footwear.

However, several parents at the school have voiced their concerns over the policy, which they view to be counterproductive and a backwards step in preparing children for the world of work.

One father, who wished to remain anonymous, said: "School gets you up for the world of work and uniform is a big part of maintaining standards. I think this is a load of new age nonsense and I can't see how allowing slippers in the classroom is going to benefit anybody.

"You see all teenagers going to Tesco in their pyjamas and this kind of policy just encourages that sort of slobbish behaviour."

The shift to a more relaxed uniform comes on the back of successful policy changes implemented across Scandinavia, where academic performance among primary-aged pupils improved considerably when they were placed into a "comfortable" learning environment.

Welcoming the news, Professor Stephen Heppell, the project's lead researcher, told The Telegraph that the transition to slippers had helped foster a calmer and more congenial learning environment.

"Shoeless learning isn't for everyone, but the hard research data says cleaning costs are lower, furniture lasts a lot longer and with clean floors you need less of it. It saves money - and academic progress is better too.

"The last place a child would sit to read is an upright chair and we've found that 95 per cent of them actually don't read on a chair at home. When they go on holidays the read lying down. Having conditions in the classroom that are like those at home means that more boys are reading in the classroom."

This article was originally published on Daily Telegraph UK.