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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 November 2007, 18:28 GMT
Potter casts a spell over pupils
Paige at Robert Mellors school
Pupils at the schools say they love the lessons
Harry Potter has cast his spell over pupils at a once-failing Nottingham school - transforming results.

Children dress as their favourite Harry Potter characters, chant spells and use their wands in maths classes at Robert Mellors Primary School.

The innovative approach, where children vote on the theme for a term's lessons, has raised academic standards.

The school has gone from being in the bottom 25% of all schools in England three years ago to the top 25%.

Broomstick balancing

It recently received a glowing report from Ofsted inspectors.

Head teacher Donna Chambers, who has been known to dress up in Harry Potter costume herself, said: "We are just a little school who let the children decide how they want to learn.

Lauren at Robert Mellors primary school
It's really good and it has got loads of magic spells
Lauren, Year Three pupil

"With maths, the teacher will say 'today we are learning how to do inverse operation'. They put on their Harry Potter hat and wands, and work it out in their books."

Year Three pupil Zak said: "The newspaper said we were one of the lowest in the country in maths but we have moved up - and I'm happy about that.

"It is easier when you are thinking about Harry Potter - and having fun when you are learning."

Classmate Lauren said she loved the curriculum: "It's really good and it has got loads of magic spells and different characters in it."

The school is divided into four houses, named Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw and Slytherin after the houses at Hogwarts, Harry Potter's school in the JK Rowling novels.

Inspectors judged maths lessons to be "outstanding", saying: "Subtraction was seen as a spell by Harry Potter.

"Behaviour in lessons was of the highest standard and reflects pupils' enjoyment," inspectors added.

"Pupils enter the school with standards well below average. Over the last three years, standards and achievement have improved greatly."

Subject range

In English, pupils are creating a screenplay from a chapter in Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone.

In physical education they have practised balancing in a way that would allow them to climb onto a broomstick.

"Historically, the school had a really bad reputation, which is why I applied for the job here," Mrs Chambers said.

"But (the success) isn't just down to the creative curriculum. This wouldn't happen if the staff weren't on board, prepared to take risks and step out of their comfort zone to really inspire the children.

"They (the pupils) have studied the history of flight, written scripts and really believe in what they're learning about. They don't realise we're ticking boxes in the national curriculum as well."

VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Students transformed into Hogwarts pupils



SEE ALSO
Potted Harry for beginners
17 Jul 07 |  Entertainment
Growing up with Harry Potter
20 Jul 07 |  Entertainment
Potter books fly off the shelves
21 Jul 07 |  Entertainment
Wizard beats school to web prize
02 Feb 06 |  Leicestershire

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