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Queues to get into China's cavern club

Forget the costly glass atriums and sweeping arches of Building Schools for the Future. Children will learn anywhere - even in a cave - and in China some are doing just that.

A remote Chinese village in Guizhou province has saved the expense of putting a roof on its school by building the classrooms inside a vast cave.

From small beginnings, Middle Cave School has now expanded to eight teachers, 186 pupils and a waiting list for enrolment.

In an example of demand-led schooling that would make New Labour educationists proud, officials are now planning to expand the school to another cave near by.

"The students are very eager for knowledge and the one who lives furthest away has to walk six hours each day," said Xi Lin Chun, the headteacher. "It shows how popular we are."

The cave school could provide a model for the English cathedral choir schools that are being turned into academies. "The acoustics are great," said Mr Xi. "We have the best choir in the area."

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