Do it yourself… Start your own school…

I’m at Demos‘ tenth birthday party and I’m bending the ear of Geoff Mulgan ? founder of Demos and, since 1999, a top man in the Number 10 Policy Unit (the do tank) ? about education (I feel OK doing this because he’s had a child since the last time we met). He tells me they’ve got an interesting new initiative ? imported from the USA, natch ? called Street Schools. Local schools, run in people’s homes to cater for school avoiders and other difficult kids.

I told him our specific problem was that we have no local state secondary school ??nothing within five or six miles anyway ??although there are enough kids in the area and the population is growing fast. He told me to start a City Technology College ??the Government’s semi-independent elite schools. I’m thinking ‘why not?’ Wouldn’t it be fun? We could call it NetSchool or something and emphasise network technologies, collaborative pedagogy, weblogs, accessibility, open standards, openness in general etc. Hmm.

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  1. It would be a good idea. I’m fortunate enough to have a good state secondary very close to our house, but other people at my son’s primary aren’t so fortunate (our local secondary is so popular that if you live more than 2km away, you probably won’t get in).

    We came up with a variation on Geoff’s suggestion. Sadly, the government is committed (I doubt Geoff is to blame) to faith-based schools. Why not apply to start a faith-based school, with the faith being rationalism.

    I’ve tested the idea on some world-famous scientists and they have unanimously said that if such a school existed, the science community would fall over itself to support it with guest lecturers, etc.

    Another thought for you, although perhaps less straightforward than a CTC.

  2. It would be an enormously fun thing to do, and the rationalist faith school idea is genius.
    I don’t see how the Street School idea would fit in with the govt thinking on social inclusion though. Isn’t it like a home schooling version of PRUs?

  3. the uk has also invested in a project by stephen heppel and ultralab ( ) called notschool: an on-line virtual learning community of teenagers who find themselves outside of traditional learning institutions in the long term. It offers them a community of learners, teachers, and experts who share some innovative learning tools. seeks to be a solution to returning some of these teenagers to learning.there is an evaluation document on their site. anyway netschool. notschool.

  4. i want to homeschool my kids and then spread that concept all around my town

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