A PRIMARY school is allowing pupils to wear slippers during lessons after a Bournemouth University professor found children behaved better without shoes.

Students at Findern Primary School in Derbyshire only wear normal shoes when going outdoors, after Professor Stephen Heppell’s study suggested the relaxed footwear may boost results and attitudes.

Prof Heppell researched the topic for more than 10 years in 25 countries. He found many schools discovered a “complex mix of significant gains” when introducing 'shoelessness', with children behaving better, reduced bullying and less noise. Among the other benefits were cleaner carpets, reduced wear and tear on furniture, and children being more willing to sit on floors and soft furnishings, creating more space for role play, presentation, and collaboration.

Writing in his blog, he said: “It probably started on mass in Scandinavia where many children learn with their shoes off. The weather – snow, ice, slush – led them to need outdoor shoes and boots for walking to and from home and these got left at the school door on arrival; hence their initial foray into shoelessness.

“New Zealand, where Maori schools are often very shoeless too, might also lay claim to being part of the origins.

“Today, in very many schools worldwide, across all age ranges, shoeless learning has taken off, despite what is usually initial scepticism.”

Findern Primary School’s headteacher, Emma Titchener, told the Sun going shoeless had benefitted the school and its pupils.

"So far it seems to have made a big difference. At the moment it isn't compulsory, but from September it might become part of our uniform policy if the trial succeeds,” she said.

While research has found a number of benefits to shoeless learning, Prof Heppell’s study also found some limitations to the scheme.

He said toilets, especially with boys, “can need a little ingenuity”. To get around this, one primary school provides pairs of Crocs outside each cubicle, which the children can slip on.

Also, short teachers who have been “a bit stacked” by their heels “come back down to earth”.

Prof Heppell found every culture had their own explanation of why shoeless learning works.

In India, it is seen as a mark of respect to take shoes off when entering a sacred space. And in England, we think it is “more like home” when taking our shoes off.