SHARPEN your pencil, get your books out, answer the register – and take off your shoes.

Those are the preparatory steps pupils at a Walcot school are taking to get ready for lessons as part of a new learning style for which it is claimed preparing pupils’ feet could be as important as preparing their brains.

Years 3 and 4 at the Bothwell Road school are trialing shoeless learning, which means they take off their shoes at the school door and wear indoor daps or slippers in the classroom, in a bid to improve study.

Suzanne Gregory, parent support officer at the school, said: “Many countries around the world have adopted shoeless learning, including China, India and, most successfully, Scandinavia.

“Scientific studies have shown that children learn more effectively with their shoes off for a number of reasons.

“Some of these include the reduction in noise levels, the reduction in disruptive behaviour and the more relaxed atmosphere being more conducive to learning.”

Year 3 teacher Chris Fox, whose class is among those trialling the style, discovered it by accident.

“All of the Key Stage 2 classrooms were fitted with brand new carpet over the Christmas break and the Year 3 teacher was particularly keen to keep the new carpet clean,” Suzanne said.

“He asked all the children and adults to take their shoes off before entering the classroom and noticed that the children seemed to like it.

“He then did some research into shoeless learning and realised the benefits that could be gained.

“The vast majority of children have fully embraced the ethos. All of the adults working in Year 3 and Year 4 are finding that children are keen to engage in lessons.

“Although it cannot be proven that taking your shoes off directly improves your learning, there is definitely a calm and focused atmosphere within the classroom."