Lockdown has brought unprecedented disruption to Scotland’s education system.

At one Glasgow primary school, however, the upheaval became an opportunity for radical change.

Classrooms at Kelvinside Academy’s junior school have been overhauled after senior staff took inspiration from the Scandinavian model with its focus on collaborative learning.

The fully-flexible spaces feature bleacher seating, mobile teaching stations and whiteboard tables. Reflection pods, where pupils can absorb what they have learned before they move on, have also been installed in each classroom.

Clare Sweeney, head of Kelvinside Academy junior school, said lockdown had given her a chance to reflect as the school stood empty for many months over the course of the last year.

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She said the period had been “hugely challenging” but added: “It’s also a global pattern interrupt. Everyone has had the opportunity to ask if what they were doing before was really creating the best possible outcome.

“We realised that if we want to teach our children to collaborate, challenge and follow their own curiosity, we have to start with the classroom.

“Classrooms haven’t really changed since the Victorian era. They are typically set-up for rows and rows of children to sit and listen to a teacher.

“This teaches them to be compliant. We want them to flourish in every part of life. If your child was to visit a school in Finland or Sweden, their experience would be radically different because of their strong pedagogical approach, which focuses on play and relationships, and allows for learning to take place through their interaction with each other. That’s key to our philosophy.”

The Herald: Junior school headteacher Clare Sweeney.Junior school headteacher Clare Sweeney.

The classrooms are completely flexible. Children are encouraged to learn where they are most comfortable, whether it is on the floor or on bleacher seating.

The improvements are also the latest part of a major investment programme designed to create a school fit for the future.

The work began in 2016, when the existing library was replaced with a “Thinking Space” inspired by Silicon Valley. Then, in 2018, the school invested in its outdoor learning programme with the purchase of a Wilderness Campus in the Highlands and a school yacht.

The following year, it consolidated its partnership with Boston-based NuVu by building the world’s first full-time innovation school.

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Rector Dan Wyatt said: “We will take big leaps forward to make sure that pupils at our school receive the best possible education. Primary pupils at our school have a huge opportunity to learn not just in these incredible new classrooms, but also outdoors and in our NuVu Innovation School.

“By giving our pupils the opportunity to experience these different, unique environments, we hope to protect the wonder and curiosity that children all too often lose as they progress through school.”