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The root of good health

FORGET hot-housing - the cool way to get the best out of children in the classroom is plant power.

For according to researchers in Oslo, Norway, the way to cut absenteeism and increase contentment is to create a lush, green environment in the classroom.

Two secondary schools taking part in research by the city's University of Agriculture found that introducing plants into schools reduced the amount of sick-days by a third.

Headaches, coughs and runny noses in the six "green" classrooms were dramatically reduced.

Te secret: clearer air. Apparently, the plants reduced the amount of toxins emitted by building and furnishing materials.

Whether the news is enough to send British teachers rushing to their local garden centre remains unclear. But Colleen Smith, from Plants for People, an international initiative aimed at putting leaves in the office, is convinced.

"Planting could be a blessing to make surroundings not only aesthetically more pleasing for learning, but also improve concentration and cut down on visits to matron."

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