THE EMPTY skies above Hounslow earlier this week boosted pupils' behaviour and concentration levels, according to staff at one primary school.
While schools across London were forced to cancel lessons with staff stranded abroad, teachers at Berkeley Primary School, in Cranford Lane, Heston, welcomed the break from planes roaring overhead.
Catherine Bridger, deputy headteacher at Berkeley, said: "It's been very quiet and very nice. The children's behaviour has been remarkably improved and we've had lovely PE lessons outside without having to stop every five minutes. It's easier to teach and easier for pupils to concentrate during lessons."
Schools across Hounslow have long complained about the impact of aircraft noise on children's education, and Ms Bridger's comments will add fresh weight to those claims.
There were no flights in or out of Heathrow between last Thursday and Tuesday evening due to concerns ash clouds from Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull volcano could damage planes.
Although schools across the country were badly affected by teachers and pupils being stranded overseas, most of those in central Hounslow managed to struggle through.
Paul Enright, headteacher of St Mark's Catholic School, in Bath Road, Hounslow, said several teachers and about 30 students had been unable to make it in after the Easter holidays.
However, he praised the efforts made by staff to get back, including one teacher who made it home from Barcelona by train and ferry and another who only arrived home from Ireland at 5am but still made it into school that morning. He praised the efforts of staff and supply teachers to ensure the school was able to run all lessons as normal.
There were no disruptions either at The Heathland School, in Wellington Road South, Hounslow, or Heston Community School, in Heston Road, Heston, according to staff, despite a number of teachers being absent.