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Anything alternative considered now - getting desperate

(13 Posts)
newlifenewname Sun 18-Feb-07 16:00:50

This is going to be rudely brief a I have very limited web access currently.

I have 3, 5 and 7 year old children. They have experienced small village school (40 on roll), large London school, Home Ed and then two schools in France.

One could consider this a rich educational experience but the reality is that life has been so all over the place that the children have experienced very many life changes so I guess in more ways than not this is a negative.

We are currently in a women's refuge having fled domestic abuse. I am frantically searching for schools for the children and have thus far visited a fairly typical middle sized state school. Not impressed as I am quite opposed to British state education.

Not in a position to Home Ed again right now or for a long while so the search is on for a school that doesn't attempt to lead and guide children through a set of criteria that is one size only.

To sum up why I feel the way I do so that you might better understand what I am seeking: I ponder this: Why is it necessary to have an outright ban on chocolate in packed lunches in the name of healthy eating [choices]? What does having a uniform actually teach anybody beyond the kids that want to go into marketing? Why is it necessary to broadly cover so much so soon and why is art and being outside and listening and feeling underrated and under catered for? What purpose does a daily act of (largely Christian) worship serve and what of the tokenism regarding other religions?, blah, blah.

Not in need of a debate on my opinions as all I am really after here is some pointers towards more creatively thinking schooling but feel free to debate my utopian ideals as you wish!

Looking at Steiner locally next week as well as smaller village state school (80 on roll).
Very anxious that the children are receiving an education again soon, and honestly need them out of my hair while I sort our loves out.

I've kind of forgotten who I am in all this escaping abuse thing but I don't want to lose my ideals.

By the way, anyone fancy my chances in getting an assisted place at Steiner??

newlifenewname Sun 18-Feb-07 16:06:33

Not so brief but speedily typed - apologies for bad anglais and typos abound!

Oh and if you can guess who I am please cat me as i am trying to be more anonymous but am transparent by nature and finding it hard.

newlifenewname Sun 18-Feb-07 22:54:49


Miaou Sun 18-Feb-07 23:03:09

Hmm - reading your post I thought "Steiner" ... and got to the end to find you are considering it! . I have no experience of Steiner but it does sound like it will fulfill some of your ideals and is the best alternative to the unachievable home ed just now. You certainly want to be in a school that is not tied to the national curriculum.

All the best [smile[

DimpledThighs Sun 18-Feb-07 23:04:52

I share similar concerns but the state primary mine are in suits them well and the issues that have come up I have raised and have been dealt with.

1. chocolate in lunchboxes - children should be taught about health and choice together, this is an opportunity to discuss WHY the school says no chocolate and if you think it is right.

2. uniform gives a sense of school identity relating to issues of community. Again doesn't bother me or them too much.

3. outside is done a lot at their school. art not enoguh so we do it at home.

4. daily worship - write to school govenrnors re your concerns

so not trying to argue you round, just saying wy not look at the state school and then work with the limitations you see it imposes. Either by discussing it with your children and telling them you don't agree with it or working with the school to change it.

It seems like you have had a really rough ride of late. I hope things get better for you.

TheodoresMummy Mon 19-Feb-07 21:34:57

I looked into Steiner recently because I was looking for an alternative style of education for my DS (3 years). In a nutshell I like their approach, but when you get down to the details they, like state schools, are quite restrictive in their own way. Have you looked into a Montessori school ? Some go up to age 12. Whereabouts are you, if you can say ?

newlifenewname Wed 21-Feb-07 16:47:01


Montessori is next to check out but I am wary because of the fashion that Montessori has become and the affect that has had on the quality of Montessori provision.

Are these the only two real possibilities for al;ternative ed in the UK apart from individual schools? What about other alternative educational movements?

Ladymuck Wed 21-Feb-07 16:53:38

There are many small independent schools which have a variety of approaches (and usually have abandoned the NC). But in order to survive they will charge full fees, and there will be few subsidised places. I'm not sure that you would get all of your wishlist, but you would certainly get some.

Aloha Wed 21-Feb-07 16:59:58

re chocolate - um, is anyone so keen to give their kids sweets for lunch they would reject a school on these grounds? I think a healthy eating policy is a good idea - and I've seen what is in some unfortunate kids' lunchboxes. Not all schools have uniform by any means. My child's school is not perfect, but certainly values listening and feeling. They are constantly drawing and painting and they go outside for ages! They have to do the daily act of worship because it is the law - a stupid law but the law - but most schools pretty much ignore that aspect and teach an ethical lesson instead. You can withdraw your child if you wish.
I think the Steiner system can be very rigid - no reading or writing until 7 and no wearing black, for example.

TheodoresMummy Wed 21-Feb-07 20:35:50

Don't know if you want to say where you are considering your circumstances, but I know of quite a few 'alternative' schools around the country because I am currently looking for my DS (3).

If you can get online for a good surf then I would recommend checking out (has a list of small/alternative schools).

HTH a bit.

loopybear Sat 24-Feb-07 22:21:49

First newlife big hug x

I'm a teacher in a primary so will do my best to answer.

1. We discourage chocolate in lunch boxes becaue we have a healthy eating policy. We always tell children it's ok to eat in small amounts and we advise parents that we prefer this to be at home. We ask parents to sign an agreement to support the policy. (also some of our children with "issues" tend to be effected by chocolate)

2. We have a flexible uniform policy (I know not all do). We prefer children to wear uniform but no big deal if they don't. Uniform is often thought to be better in areas of poverty because it removes pressure for the latest trends and no child notices if you've worn the same sweater for the whole week but may notice if don't change your clothes for a week. When questioned many our parents said it prevented a battle over what to wear and they liked it cos it gave them a sense of identity.

3. A good infants will do loads of outside, creative and listening activities. Have you looked at Reggio. You may find a state primary (that follows the phillosphy) or somewhere that uses highscope.

4. Collective worship is a government requirement. Even though we are church affilated our assemblies tend to be more about rights, respects and responsibilites. We havea prayer and reflection time. You can legally withdraw children from collective worship by writing a letter to the chair of governors and head.

Stick to your ideals and it'll work out

hellywobs Mon 26-Feb-07 13:37:02

I always had things like Penguins in my lunchbox and I am not obese or even overweight.

Too much nannystating methinks.

I can understand it more from the perspective of additives and indeed getting sticky chocolaty fingers and making a mess but it's daft to say a daily Kitkat (2 fingers) or Penguin etc is bad for kids' health.

Jimjams2 Mon 26-Feb-07 13:38:56

there's human scale education as well- small schools- bit steinerish but less tied to the philosophy.

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