My family is soon to move to west Kent from France. Amongst all the many considerations involved in moving from one country to another, perhaps the most challenging and worrying is finding a school where our eldest son, who has just turned six, will be happy.
I am wondering if somewhere in Kent there is a primary school that offers a progressive education, by which I mean one that (in summary):
- Takes as its starting point children and the nature of childhood.
- Ensures that what is done in the classroom is drawn from direct experience.
- Encourages children to take the lead in their learning, supported by teachers who understand how to follow and guide them.
- Acknowledges that because every child is unique, children will have different interests and aptitudes and will learn in different ways.
- Has no truck with a one-size-fits-all curriculum, learning goals or frequent testing.
So, I am posting with four questions:
1. Whilst I appreciate that the above are ideals that can no longer exist in a state run school, do you know of a state school in Kent or East Sussex that, whilst paying lip service to government policy, succeeds in actually providing something interesting and valuable for children?
2. If not, do you know of a school which at the very least offers children the minimum of a benign environment where they are not demeaned by a regime of testing, but are treated with respect and kindliness and where the school works to minimize the destructive effects of government policy?
3. Do you know of a school in the private sector that offers a genuinely progressive education in Kent or East Sussex? (We would never have countenanced private education for our children were it not for government policy).
4. Finally, if you feel unable to answer these questions for whatever reason, is there someone else you could suggest I approach?
I have already made a number of enquiries to schools in the area but have not come up with anything even remotely encouraging, hence this posting.
I look forward to hearing from you.