I have worked as a qualified teacher for 16 years and in the last 2 years have branched off into the world of independent education. This idea began when I decided to take my 7 year old out to “Flexi school” two days a week. Within 3 months he had gone from a reading level 6 to 23, his confidence had grown and he now enjoyed learning. For years I had been told by school that he was not very capable and that he was getting further and further behind his peers. He has started to spend 80% of the school day out of the classroom and had refused to write anything down.
Last November he was diagnosed with ASC (Autistic spectrum condition) which is a big umbrella term, but for him, his sensory processing needs and his social communication were a huge barrier to him learning in school. In an attempt to give him a new circle of friends (he was labelled the naughty boy at school) and to have gentle social interaction, I hired the local scout hut and began to run a Sensory art and science class, designed for kids on the Autistic spectrum, but open to all. Through this venture, I began to work with 10 families, with children with a range of learning needs. We had ASC, PDA, Dyslexia, Tourette’s, ADHD and high anxiety. This group took me on an amazing journey and the most incredible training on SEND I could ever go through. By having most of their parents also there, I was able to learn so much and get instant feedback on the learning, something I only did for 10 minutes, once a year when teaching at a school.
For a long time I had realised that schools were not getting it right and the rising crisis in mental health of young people pushed me to retrain as a forest school leader. I realised that I had found my calling and that I wanted to be free to work with young people and their families to allow them to develop in a truly wholistic and free way without the constraints of league tables, national curriculum and tests.
I have been providing private, personalised tuition since January 2019 for children with SEND which is goal led by parents. But what kinds of things do we do? We have built a radio from scratch. We have written a book. We have worked on an enterprise project to make Kimchi. We have researched the food and culture of Norway. We baked Peppernuts, a delicious Nordic dish. We went on a field trip to a waterfall and learned about Native trees. We have worked on using ICT to develop packaging design and discussed the ethics of marketing. We have investigated the geography of Canada. We designed and build bridges using Minecraft as a design tool. Today we recorded a podcast. After half term we plan a trip to the local aquarium to write the underwater scene in the book he is writing.
Each day is new and shiny and provides new learning opportunities. The progress is exponential, when learning is reframed in this way. Project based, experiential and learner led.
Please call me to talk about your child’s needs and the type of tuition you are looking for. I am always happy to chat.