Year 4 pupils are being allowed to wear slippers and cosy socks in class, swapping their usual chairs for cushions on the floor in front of a roaring fire.
It is all part of Scandinavian-style “Hygge” lessons at Belmont Grosvenor independent prep school, near Harrogate, North Yorkshire, where Year 4 pupils are being encouraged to feel cosy and comfortable in order to promote learning.
And if these Year 4s are already the envy of their fellow pupils, they will no doubt be the envy of many of their counterparts in state schools – where around a quarter of teachers say their school has delayed putting on the heating for winter due to funding cuts.
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The concept of Hygge, which is said to translate from Danish as “a feeling of wellbeing, cosiness and contentment with life”, was introduced to the school by Sendco Katie Page to coincide with lessons about Scandinavia. Some of these lessons take part in a school hall with real open fire.
She said: “We use cosy blankets and quilts, often play music in the background, and have a roaring fire on the whiteboard, too. Pupils bring in cosy socks as it makes them feel happy, and I’m relaxed about them lying on the floor while they learn. Teaching like this has encouraged the children to try hard and feel safe in their learning and they are all extremely focused.”
Headmistress Sophia Ashworth Jones said: “I like to pop in to these lessons whenever possible to experience the wonderful feeling of wellbeing and cosiness.”
According to a survey by the NEU teaching union , 26 per cent of teachers in the state sector said their school or college had delayed turning on the heating for winter while around a fifth reported a problem with their school's heating or boiler.