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Alternative schools

(13 Posts)
Emerald6 Mon 29-Sep-14 10:08:10

Just wondering if anyone has any experience of sending their children to alternative small schools? Especially interested in the New Forest Small School but also looking at Park School & Sands School Totnes and The Small School in Hartland. Thanks smile

Happyhetty Tue 30-Sep-14 13:06:32

Marking place as I would also lobe to hear more about the new forest small school for my DD.

Happyhetty Tue 30-Sep-14 13:07:06


Emerald6 Tue 30-Sep-14 15:35:45

We are off to visit new forest school in a few weeks. Will keep you posted Happyhetty smile

Happyhetty Tue 30-Sep-14 20:05:56

Great thank you smile

saintlyjimjams Fri 03-Oct-14 21:25:43

I always like the look of Sands for my slightly quirky ds3. I think it's just slightly too far for us though (would be fine if he was an only, but would be hard for us to get him out there each day).

absolutelyflawed Tue 11-Nov-14 23:22:13

Hi, have you visited yet? I'm interested too!

FamiliesShareGerms Tue 11-Nov-14 23:42:01

I know someone who went to the Small School in Hartland - they're a seriously odd (smart) cookie but loved the school and it seems to have been the right school for them, though I suspect a main stream school would have helped them gain more than the handful of GCSEs they have

violetsareblue11 Thu 13-Nov-14 18:44:41

I don't have personal experience but I know someone with a bright, very mature DS at Summerhill School in Suffolk (the alternative school where the kids choose their own lessons) and he's doing very well indeed. He only takes English, Maths, Biology, German, Music and History but because he genuinely loves the subjects he's learning as he's chosen to do them (as opposed to being made to sit in a classroom and do them) he's doing amazingly well and is taking his Maths and Biology GCSE's a year early. He spends his spare time sat in the school treehouse reading or playing fantasy games with his friends in te school forest apparently! Sounds like a lot of fun to me. There's also weekly assemblies where the children govern how the school is run (Summerhill is one of a tiny number of student democratic schools in the UK) and they make quite literally all the school rules. My friend said her DS previously having a terrible time at his selective, pushy prep school and was having stress breakdowns and so she moved him to Summerhill to see if he would cope better by taking his learning into his own hands. Seems as though he has! Also, apparently the year groups all mix together and as a consequence the kids learn how to interact with people younger and older than them. I think it's practically full boarding, and the fees are rather high, but I think a learning experience like that is well worth the money. It's small too, there's only about 70 students I think!

absolutelyflawed Sat 15-Nov-14 11:59:02

Anybody have experience of / visited the New Forest Small School? - Would love to hear any views on this one.

absolutelyflawed Mon 17-Nov-14 21:18:15

Bump! Anyone?

Emerald6 Sun 07-Dec-14 19:50:16

Hi there, My husband visited the new forest small school (unfortunately I was busy looking after the kids), definitely recommend getting in touch with them, they are very friendly on emails and phone. We decided it wasn't the place for our girls because it is sooo small and we thought it may become a bit difficult as they got older. I remember being a teen and craving a few places to just hide and be a bit anonymous if you know what I mean. I think there's about 70 kids from 3 through to 16. Very small year groups..maybe seven or eight in some years. A lot of kids join the school after being in mainstream and it not working out for them. I get the feeling parents may have been through the mill with mainstream for whatever reason and so they love this school and seeing their kids happy again.
I really like the idea of the all through schools. We are now considering the Steiners near Stroud and also St. Josephs in Launceston. The Summerhill school looks great too but we really want to relocate to the South West so its just off the map for us.

Asleeponasunbeam Tue 09-Dec-14 21:01:56

We tried Park for a while with DD. There is a lot I still love about it. But I think all of these small schools are conventional in their own way - you still have to 'fit in' even if it doesn't look like it. If you're not quirky, charismatic, 'interesting' or artistic enough, then maybe there's no place for you.

That's how we ended up feeling anyway. But it's a great place in many ways.

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