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'Once in a lifetime opportunity' - Norfolk primary school pupils jet off to Sweden

PUBLISHED: 16:50 11 November 2019 | UPDATED: 08:59 12 November 2019

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

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

Archant

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

Matthew Try, headteacher, and Lorraine Birt, Year 6 teaching assistant, with pupils outside the 'i-building'. Picture: Sarah HussainMatthew Try, headteacher, and Lorraine Birt, Year 6 teaching assistant, with pupils outside the 'i-building'. Picture: Sarah Hussain

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.

18 children from Hillcrest Primary in Downham Market have flown out to Sweden to spend the week working in a school in Vasteras. Picture: Sarah Hussain18 children from Hillcrest Primary in Downham Market have flown out to Sweden to spend the week working in a school in Vasteras. Picture: Sarah Hussain

"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.

Year 6 pupils at Hillcrest Primary school have adopted a Swedish model of learning, which seems them working more independently. Picture: Sarah HussainYear 6 pupils at Hillcrest Primary school have adopted a Swedish model of learning, which seems them working more independently. Picture: Sarah Hussain

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

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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