Well what a lovely day I had. I wasn’t too sure what time the event started so I set off at 9am from WGC. I stopped off near Margate to find the address of the school and for a comfort break, to find that it didn’t start until 2pm, so I took advantage of it being a sunny day and me being at the seaside.
I had a walk across the warm sand and I had a paddle, which was very refreshing. The rock pools were warm and the sea was a little cold. I lay down on my picnic mat to let my feet dry off and fell asleep for about 20 mins. After my power nap I drove to an area overlooking the sea and ate my healthy vegan lunch. I was then ready to visit the school.
The school was in a Community Centre, where some rooms were dedicated to the school and the hall was hired out for other events. They had a computer/study room which has 2 computers and books and a large lounge area, where children can either relax on the sofas or sit up at the table and do activities.
The main ethos of the school is that all people in the school (children and adults) are all equal with the adults facilitating each child’s individual learning request. It is run like a democratic community which give children a sense of value and belonging.
They have committees set up to run various activities in the school, like cleaning and computer club. Instead of having rules they have laws, that are discussed and voted in by everyone in the school and there is a Judicial Committee (JC), member of which are all children and one adult. This committee will discuss the breaking of any laws with the perpetrator and come to a decision about their sentence. It is a form of restorative justice so once the matter has been discussed and resolved it is over.
The school is self funded and the every day running of the school is also discussed, even the budgets. The fees are charged on a three termly basis on a sliding scale. Specific details about charges and any other information can be found on the website at https://eastkentsudburyschool.org.uk/
I felt that it is a beneficial environment for children allowing them to grow socially, emotionally and educationally, preparing them for the challenges of adult life. I can see the Shebear Connection Centre being based on this approach to learning. I enjoyed my visit there so much that I want to experience this learning approach for myself. I have offered to do some voluntary work experience there, which, of course, will have to be discussed and agreed by the relevant committee.