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Inside The World's Smallest School: Girl, 8, Is The ONLY Pupil At Italian Primary School

14/08/2014 17:02 | Updated 20 May 2015

World's smallest school

An eight-year-old girl is getting one-to-one tuition at school - because she is the ONLY pupil.

The school in Alpette, Turin, is believed to be the smallest in the world, and is only attended by eight-year-old Sofia Viola, who is in year four.

Sofia is taught all her subjects by her 33-year-old teacher, Isabella Carvelli, who is, naturally, the only teacher at the school. Not surprisingly perhaps, Sofia admits that she sometimes feels lonely in class, and imagines there are other pupils.

"I take a jacket and put it on a chair next to mine, then I open a book on the desk and I pretend there is someone there," she told Barcroft Media.

Sofia hasn't always been the only student at the school, which used to be the city hall. Last year there were four older pupils but they moved on when they finished fifth grade (year six). In September, she will be joined by new pupils from nursery.

Sofia's favourite subjects are Italian and English, and she loves school outings to the surrounding mountains. She also gets to visit a larger school twice a week where she socialises with other children her age.

World's smallest school

Despite the low attendance, officials say they will keep the school open providing there is at least one pupil, and the school is taught as if there were a classroom full of children.

"Everything is exactly the same - except it's a little calmer than a normal school," said Isabella.

"When I was asked to teach in Alpette I didn't know where it was or even that it had a school. But I accepted it and it has been an experience that has given me so much."

Sofia's parents, Fiorella Vincenzi, 50, and Giuseppe Viola, 57, are more than happy with the set-up.

Ms Vincenzi said: "It is great that she is getting one-on-one teaching at the moment. It is a bit of a strange situation but, next year, there will be other pupils so she won't be so lonely."

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