The school where slippers are part of the uniform

Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock 

Most people know the particular pleasure of sliding on a comfy pair of slippers when we arrive home at the end of a busy day. But what if we blurred those lines by wearing slippers as we work?

One primary school in Wales says its students are calmer and more focused since slippers became part of the uniform. Ysgol y Parc in Denbigh, Wales made slippers indoors mandatory for all students in January and is the first school in Wales to do so.

The initiative came about after a teacher recounted their experiences of wearing slippers at school as a child, and head teacher Louisa Roberts decided to look into it more deeply. What she found compelled the school to make the change.

Speaking to the UK Mirror, Ms Roberts said, "It's a fairly new idea, we came back after the holidays and one of the teachers mentioned that when she was in school and little, her teacher said the should wear slippers in class. This is going back years but she said it was the nicest experience she'd ever had in school, and she felt that wearing slippers had made it a nicer experience."

"Research says that when children feel more relaxed they learn better. There has been lots of work done in Scandinavian schools on this and there was this ten year project that showed children did do better when they didn't wear shoes in classes and had a more relaxed approach," she said.

The study that Roberts mentions was conducted by Professor Stephen Heppell at Bournemouth University who examined the effects of environment on student learning. The findings concluded that with shoes removed, children were calmer, more engaged learners.

"The key to attainment is engagement, and if children want to be there and enjoy being there, universally they do better. When they arrive late and leave early and are disengaged, their performance suffers. Kids with shoes on are less engaged than those without shoes," says Prof Heppell.

The benefits are not only educational, says Ms Roberts. "We have infant children, who spend time sitting playing or reading on the carpet in groups and to not have hard shoes on their feet creates a more relaxed environment. It avoids dirt coming in [so there] are health benefits. The carpets will be cleaner - they do spend a lot of time on the carpet."

When the idea was put to the students, the support for the footwear change was unanimous.

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Roberts said, "Because of their response, we thought, well, we'll have give it a go. We've got new storage so they can store their shoes and not lose their shoes or slippers, so we've thought about all the logistics about it, and how we'll manage it."

It's a very simple change to make and one that is positively affecting educational outcomes. The addition of slippers has gone down well with the parent body too.