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Calm, not chaos, rules at school where play is king

The old-style P1 classroom has gone and pupils roam freely – and it’s working

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The P1 area at Canal View Primary School is like one of those old optical-illusion posters that university students used to love putting on their bedroom wall: it’s hard to see what’s going on at first – and it’s a little disorientating – but soon a clear picture starts to form.

The school in Wester Hailes, one of the most deprived parts of Edinburgh, is trying something bold with its 54 P1s. Rather than being split up into larger classes, they are mostly free to wander between three classrooms and an outdoor area, deciding for themselves if they want to mess around with water, create some ...

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