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(Photograph) - This weekend camp gives seven and eight-year-olds their first taste of independence from home and living with other children of their own age. It also marks the end of their time in the early school and the start of middle school. On Saturday morning the children arrive at San Andrea with their sleeping bags, luggage and favourite toys. Their weekend activities include swimming, a day trip to a film studio and a barbecue; last year they also had a star-gazing night. Headteacher Lena Ross says the school in L-Imselliet, in the central part of the island, is the second built by the Parents' Foundation for Education. The first was 13 years ago when about 120 parents got together to raise funds because they felt Maltese education wasn't child-centred enough. it's changed since, but today San Andrea still has 700 children aged three to 15. Eventually they will take either GCSEs or Maltese examinations.

Snaps by MARIA BARTOLO

* Teacher Roberta Muscat and some of the weekenders

* Happy eaters: we'll take a bite now

* Time for bed: end of a fun-packed day for Daria Chetcuti

* All together now: one to remember the class of '99 by

A weekend in the life of San Andrea school, Malta

* Cool it and let's pool our talent

* On our bike: best of friends Daniel and Dorian

* Early risers: the weekend starts here

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