Flexi Schools System
We believe that education should be tailored to the needs of each child, and responsive to their different but developing abilities, irrespective of their age. One of the advantages of such a small school is that we get to know each child and their family to a depth that may not be possible in a larger school. This means we can give each child a personalized learning plan with all the advantages of, for example, one-to-one tuition as well as participation in group work and whole class teaching. We felt that we could develop a working partnership with parents who electively home-school their children but still seek some support from the school system. We value the support of parents and members of the community who have the requisite skills, to help us enrich the curriculum. We therefore developed an approach, which provides:
- mutual support – an opportunity for those who choose to educate at home to come together and receive additional support through sharing best practice
- enhanced social development – opportunities for children who may be educated on their own at home to mix on a regular basis for learning and interacting with other children
- dynamic teaching and learning – opportunities for mutual enrichment and exchange of ideas through a learning community of children, staff and parents in which there is ongoing dialogue about key aspects of teaching and learning that are evidence based.
A flexi-school approach, we believed, would bring financial benefits, shared ideas and shared resources. We wanted to offer a real alternative to parents through a more flexible approach to education that embraced and supported those parents and children who had made this choice but were uncertain about the legalities and practicalities of offering flexi-schooling. We had some concerns about adding to the workload of our staff; for example, rigorous planning for, and assessing, continuity and progression of learning are crucial factors in achieving successful outcomes for each child. Organizational and timetabling difficulties had to be resolved; for example, many of our flexi-schooled children come from quite a distance and sometimes arrive late to school; some children may feel left out or marginalized if they miss events such as educational visits and birthdays. We were also concerned to ensure that children who attend full time did not feel ‘hard-done-by’.