- Bloo House School was founded in 2007 as an independent primary school providing a highly creative and nurturing mainstream alternative to traditional linear schooling. There are places for 34 children aged from four through to 11 years of age. One of the new initiatives gives children the opportunity to visit residents in nursing homes. The school also collects Christmas present boxes to donate to the families who are looked after at children’s hospice, Shooting Star Chase. There’s an Open Day on 13 October. bloohouse.co.uk (pictured).
- Brantwood, based in Sheffield is a registered independent specialist school and children’s home providing education to children aged seven to 19 with learning and behavioural difficulties (including autistic spectrum conditions, ADHD, OCD and attachment disorders). The school are working to open up the Merlin theatre on site as a community venture used by groups (especially special needs charities and health and welfare charities for their music and theatre shows). This will be run by students who will get plenty of opportunities to do marketing, PR, community liaison, front of house, car parking and catering. rmt.org/brantwood
- Alder Bridge School in Reading, Berks is a warm and vibrant community with many opportunities to get involved, both in the education of the children and in community life. Festivals play a big part, as do regular work days and fundraising events. Everyone plays their part, contributing skills, time and enthusiasm to make this a wonderful space in which the pupils thrive. Next open day on 23 Sept. cms.alderbridge.org.uk
- At Calder Valley Steiner School pupils make lanterns for the local Festival of Lights every year. The Cragg Vale community event is held in the park and children learn festive songs to share with their community. caldersteiner.org.uk
- On Fridays, Inwoods Small School in Bramdean, Hants welcomes home educated children to join the activities for the day. The morning may include nature exploration, outdoor games, play, classroom investigations and project work. The afternoons consist of workshops for the children to choose from such as folk dancing, storytelling, poetry, gardening, willow weaving, book binding, tai chi, bones and the body, miniature gardens, percussion, singing, painting, outdoor games. A vegetarian lunch is provided for all children. The next open morning is 2 October inwoods.org.uk
These five alternative schools have been built around a community ethos. Each offers a way for students to get involved in their local neighbourhood.