Why should schools consider taking flexischoolers? Advantages of flexischooling.
Pragmatism. Schools will be entitled to full funding whatever the balance of school / home-based learning; increased rolls / sustainability (flexischooling is a proven replicable opportunity to build capacity and create sustainable local schools and communities). A proportion of flexischoolers will go on to take full-time places.
Philosophical reasons. Teachers want to make a difference, to change lives and develop communities. Meeting the needs of individual learners is at its heart. Flexischooling changes lives and has proven to be effective for a range of children and young people. Flexi-parents are usually passionate and highly committed, willing to work in partnership and support settings.
Pedagogy. Experience shows that home-based learners and flexischoolers can bring new dimensions and qualities to the classroom. Flexischoolers often have greater independence and self-management, high levels of thinking, oracy and questioning skills, creativity and persistence. Those settings with larger numbers of flexischoolers have explored high level pedagogical approaches with project based, enquiry-led, research approaches, online e-learning and blended support and so on. The arrival of flexischoolers has prompted curriculum and learning developments.
Progress and achievement. Flexischooling is win:win for parents, learner and school. Like full-time home-based learners, flexischoolers will usually go beyond schooling time frames flexibly utilising evenings, weekends and year-round experiences. Normal spectrum and gifted learners can devote sufficient time to their passions and dispositions. Evidence is strongly pointing that autistic spectrum learners can benefit with the flexischooling balance. Other developmental, maturation, physical, learning and emotional needs appear better accommodated by flexischooling. Struggling children can have beneficial one to one time at home. Schools often find that flexischoolers lead to overall gains in their performance and value added data.
This listing is not exhaustive but reflects many of the typical reasons families and schools are attracted to flexischooling.
- Many parents feel schooling starts too early when their children are neither developmentally, emotionally or intellectually ready.
- Parents of children with autistic spectrum conditions can find flexischooling meets their children’s needs better than either full-time school attendance or full-time home education. School experience is balanced with time at home where school learning is supported while the child‘s need for a less stimulating environment is also met. The autistic child can also more readily focus on their own special interests, take the processing time they need, consolidate family relationships and have fun.
- In similar way children with a range of conditions like Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Syndrome (ADHD), social communication issues or communication and language processing challenges can be supported. Children for example with sensory overload and significantly slower processing times need that same break to recover, consolidate and move forward. Full-time school is overwhelming for them.
- Gifted and talented children are often under challenged in schools and as a result may become bored, disruptive or withdrawn. Flexischooling offers the opportunity for them to study at an appropriate level at home while benefiting from the school environment.
- Full-time school is inappropriate for children with some medical conditions. They may tire easily, need medication or their condition may be just too problematic to manage while attending school full-time. Attending school for a manageable amount of time each week allows these children to maintain their friendships and prevents isolation.
- Some children just don’t thrive in school. This can have a negative impact on all of their life experiences and relationships. The flexischooling balance is often shown to have a really positive impact.
- School phobic children have crippling anxieties which make full-time school impossible for them. Flexischooling has offered many of these children a way back into education.
- Bullied children can often fail to thrive or become school phobic and are often served well by flexischooling arrangements.
- Children from bi-lingual families have found time to value and develop their mother tongue and culture. This has had positive effects on their all-round educational performance and ability to thrive within two or more cultural and language communities.
- Children can access examinations made available in schools. Access to exams is often complex and costly to the elective home educator. In addition, barriers are often created by schools who do not want to accommodate external candidates.
- Tailoring the education to the individual needs of the child by meeting their abilities and aspirations can lead to faster and more sustainable development in such areas as independence, self-reliance, responsibility and self-direction.
- Families of course reap the benefits of happy thriving children eager and able to learn. Without the flexischooling option families can be drawn into a cycle of despair, high levels of stress and potential breakdown. Family cohesion and well-being can be significantly enhanced by flexischooling arrangements.
- Some parents who would seek to educate otherwise through full-time home-based education are unable to do so because they need to work. Flexischooling allows them to be involved in their children’s education.
- Several undersubscribed schools have avoided closure by introducing flexischooling schemes. Now they are thriving. One of them was judged ‘good’ by OFSTED in May 2012 partly due to its flexischooling. It is located in an area currently under special investigation for its failing and poor quality schools.
- It promotes better relationships between parents and schools.
- Schools are more likely to develop more innovative ways of supporting local and virtual learning communities as a result of their support for flexischoolers.
- Schools have a commitment to the well-being and learning of their pupils, some of whom may not be suited to full-time school. Flexischooling allows them to accommodate these children.
- Schools regularly find that flexischooled pupils bring qualities of creative thinking, self-direction, persistence, independence, tolerance and high quality interaction into classrooms.