All work and all play: School chucks out traditional teaching methods

Year one pupils pulling up the potatoes planted for Science at Lakenham Primary School

Year one pupils pulling up the potatoes planted for science at Lakenham Primary School, Norwich - Credit: Lakenham Primary School

A primary school in Norwich has ditched the desks amid an overhaul of its curriculum. 

Lakenham Primary School said after the pandemic it wanted to introduce a more play-based structure to its classrooms. 

Kate Pantry, a teacher at the school explained: “When Covid struck, many schools turned towards sit down lessons, at desks and in front of screens. However, this does not work for our children.” 

Instead teachers will get children engaged through enquiry-based learning.

Kate Pantry is a class teacher at Lakenham Primary School and loves the learning through play approach. 

Kate Pantry is a class teacher at Lakenham Primary School and loves the learning through play approach. - Credit: Lakenham Primary School

She explained: "Adults provide children with hooks to excite them with a topic and we take it from there."


You may also want to watch:


This leads children to explore questions in a range of areas. 

To encourage them to think more broadly classrooms have been redesigned with shared spaces to create welcoming and engaging areas for the children to learn.  

Most Read

Next, it will look towards its lunchtimes to create areas of learning through play that are not just sports-based.  

“These activities include role play, construction, den building, cycling, nature play, mud kitchen and more,” said Miss Pantry. 

Kate Pantry's interactive classroom, ready for learning through play 

Kate Pantry's interactive classroom, ready for learning through play - Credit: Lakenham Primary School

And the school plans on encouraging all types of play by working with organisation OPAL – which stands for Outdoor Play and Learning. 

More mainstream topics are taught at early years and key stage one through carpet sessions. 

Children exploring their environments during independent study. 

Children exploring their environments during independent study. - Credit: LAkenham Primary School

The key stage two children have slightly longer sessions and a more structured day. 

However, the teachers added that pupils still have plenty of opportunities to explore their unique classroom environments.  

Miss Pantry added: “For me as a teacher, I've seen the children become independent learners at a younger age and at a much quicker point in their school life.

Solving the puddle problem, pupils get stuck in at Lakenham Primary Schools interactive learning approach. 

Solving the puddle problem, pupils get stuck in at Lakenham Primary Schools interactive learning approach. - Credit: Lakenham Primary School

“It has also helped me to work with key groups and support the children appropriately and in quick response to their needs and interests as they occur,” she added. 

“And I get to play too!” 

She went on: "Our conversations become more meaningful and our relationships with the children are stronger because I am joining in with their play and with their special interests."

Interactive experiments at Lakenham Primary School 

Interactive experiments at Lakenham Primary School - Credit: Lakenham Primary School

Lakenham Primary School still have spaces in their nursery classes.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter