Flexischooling Learning Exchange – Reflections

Without doubt our April Flexischooling Exchange proved to be one our our most successful events in recent years. In a packed lecture theatre Exchange participants from all over the country, home-based educators, flexischoolers, teachers, headteachers, local authority officers, academics and young learners were excited and energised at the possibilities for flexischooling. The contributors all gave practical and theoretical proof of concept and showed that flexischooling strikes at the heart of the rigidity of present schooling. Far from being a problem flexischooling could just be the catalyst to help educators and learners tak e a fresh look at what they’re doing.

What is clear is that governmental structures, schooling administration, local authorities and teachers in general are poorly informed and don’t make the process easy. Indeed, that lack of information and awareness stretches to familes who are unware of the possibility of flexischooling. The option is not well promoted and insufficiently clarified to make it easy for schools to faciltate it. Some local authorities actively discourage heads (although in law this is a local school decision) whilst others are sympathetic and try to make the bureacratic procedures like attentandance and funding work.

Exchange attendees heard the marvellous success stories at Hollinsclough http://www.hollinsclough.staffs.sch.uk/ , Erpingham http://www.erpinghamprimaryschool.co.uk/smartweb/school/flexi-schooling , and Manara http://www.manara-education.co.uk/ http://www.s367818431.websitehome.co.uk/manara-academy/flexi-schooling/. They were inspired by freethinking headteachers who put learners and familes at the centre of their settings. Conversley the painful stories of families thwarted at every stage were telling of the need for further clarifications and guidance at national level.

The impact of flexischooling on small schools was striking… both Erpingham and Hollinsclough revitalised their communities with massive increases in pupil numbers. Parents showed they are prepared to travel huge distances where necessary to access flexischooling.

At the end of the day the conference resolved to continue the process of building the network and and Alison Sauer gave notice of a further National Conference in Coventry in November http://www.sc-education.co.uk/flexischooling-conference/

Our only sad note to the day was that Dr Roland Meighan http://www.rolandmeighan.co.uk/ was poorly and unable to attend as planned. The  flexischooling concept emerged from his own work and his book on the subject published by our publishing partner Educational Heretics Press http://www.edheretics.gn.apc.org/

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