‘Once in a lifetime opportunity’ – Norfolk primary school pupils jet off to Sweden

Hillcrest Primary school in Downham Market has become the first primary school in Norfolk to take ch

Hillcrest Primary school in Downham Market has become the first primary school in Norfolk to take children overseas. Picture: Sarah Hussain - Credit: Archant

A west Norfolk school has become the first primary in the county to take children overseas, with pupils travelling to Sweden to study.

Hillcrest Primary school in Downham Market has become the first primary school in Norfolk to take ch

Hillcrest Primary school in Downham Market has become the first primary school in Norfolk to take children overseas. Picture: Sarah Hussain - Credit: Archant

Eighteen pupils at Hillcrest Primary school in Downham Market jetted off to Sweden on Monday, November 11 as part of a new programme of study that adopts the Swedish model of learning.

Excited year 6 pupils and four members of staff will spend one week in a school in Vasteras experiencing first hand how children in Sweden are taught.

Headteacher Matthew Try piloted the project 18 months ago, introducing it to year 5 and 6 pupils in September this year.

Mr Try said: "We've really taken on board the independence Swedish kids take on from a young age.

Hillcrest Primary school in Downham Market has become the first primary school in Norfolk to take ch

Hillcrest Primary school in Downham Market has become the first primary school in Norfolk to take children overseas. Picture: Sarah Hussain - Credit: Archant


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"You can spend a lot of time spoon-feeding the children, whereas this move is about the children saying I struggle with this subject and so want to spend more time on that."

The current system sees pupils dedicate three afternoons a week to independent learning.

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Lorraine Birt, assistant teacher, said: "They have to have that mindset to do it themselves and it's a good way of starting them off for high school and university.

"It's the first time a Norfolk primary school have done this. It's a once in a lifetime opportunity for them."

Hillcrest Primary school in Downham Market has become the first primary school in Norfolk to take ch

Hillcrest Primary school in Downham Market has become the first primary school in Norfolk to take children overseas. Picture: Sarah Hussain - Credit: Archant

Pupils will get stuck in with the Swedish way of life spending time with children and families there.

Year 6 pupil Charlie, 10, said: "Independent learning will help us when we go to Sweden because that's what they do. It's my first time going so I'm really excited. Hopefully it will show us a good style of learning.

Emily, 10, said: "Independence is a good way to express ourselves while learning. During the week we get to pick our own classes and try and achieve our goals. I prefer the independent style of learning."

The school recently launched a £4.5m extension that will allow for an increase in pupil size.

Mr Try said: "We've named the new building the 'i-centre' with it standing for independence. We have thrown everything into making this a success.

"The independent learning is really developing the child not just for the academic process. It gives them ownership over what to do with their own learning."

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