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Sunday, May 8, 2011

How closely my school (not that i'm there any more but it will always be my school) matches the
the Guardian are doing

plus some photos i took at sands : ]


Active 9/10– students built climbing wall in school + do quite a lot of trips out swimming, climbing, etc. 2 treehouses, allotments, not massive grounds cause it’s a smallish school which receives no state funding and has many students from poor backgrounds, but it works!
occasional martial arts lessons etc – just ask for them in the meeting and they’ll happen if enough people want
  Calm 9/10 – lots of zones for socialising or reading a book on a sofa (and put some music on the cd player/watch a film anytime) all rooms like music room are always open, summerhouse the students made. No bells – you have to be on top of your schedule; no one will come get you

Comfortable 10/10 – carpeted and loads of sofas! But no slippers – you wear socks upstairs

Creative and colourful 9/10 – art room is always open – lots of things to do; crazy hobbit-like hive of creative stuff; students art in most rooms of school and sculptures all over the place!

Expert 9/10 – teachers truly passionate; listen as much as speak – allowing lessons to digress if students are fascinated with something and go off on a tangent. Fun/silly/hands on most of the time. No celebs though!

Flexible 9/10 – lessons aren’t cumpulsory at sands (though no one really misses the key subjects because they’re well taught, and any reasons for not attending are heard and solved)
it’s probably most often art that people continue with after the lesson’s ended, as they’re really wrapped up in what they’re doing and really want to finish it while inspired

Friendly 10/10 – no assemblies – we have school meetings where we make all the decisions a head teacher would (including things like hiring/sacking staff) – students and staff get one vote each. Everyone called by 1st name. staff are more like uncles and aunts that you look up to and think are amazing and wise and clever and funny

Listening 10/10 – after being in a school that’s run by the students and seeing how well it works and ultimately how much everyone who went there loved it and is doing such amazing things now as adults; I see school councils as a weak second best (but can still be loads better than most current schools)

Inclusive 10/10 –this is easier for sands because it’s less than 100 people; but the det fri gymnasium in Copenhagen is basically sands with a thousand students, so clearly this personalised approach and democratic operation is scalable

International 8/10 – students help make lunch and they’re a mix of mostly local produce and things from the school allotments! Could probably be more world dishes though.

Outside 8/10 – yeah, quite a lot of out of school things happen, particularly when it’s sunny, like heading to spitchwick where everyone leaps of the cliffs into the stream, or going for georgraphy walk-picnics on Dartmoor and studying funguses

Technological 5/10 – definitely no budget for anything like this. People are very welcome to use their own kit though.. and don’t abuse mp3 players and stuff

What the perfect school would have

No homework – yes. home work isn’t compulsory but it is allowed

A flexible timetable – yes? there’s still a timetable but it isn’t compulsory, there’s CHOICE sessions and the timetable’s obviously up for debate if you have an issue with it

An hour-long lunchbreak – yep. School finishes at 4:30 though (includes 15 mins of everyone cleaning their allocated area of the school – no cleaners to clean up after us!)

Pets – yess Huw the welsh science teacher usually has his dog running around!

First-aid lessons – yes ish.. we used to do these, haven’t seen them for a while

A choice of uniform – yes? no uniform unsurprisingly ; )
also pretty much no bullying. I think people only want others to suffer when they’re suffering

After-school clubs in all sorts of subjects
not really. Could happen if a few people asked for it but we have long days and everyone’s ready to go home I think

Hot dinners- yes hot lunches 90% of time

An iPad for each pupil. No! kinda silly though? That’d be about 30 billion pounds for every student

A football field - yep

Fewer tests – it still does GCSEs (unlike Acorn in Gloucestershire whichis worth looking at)