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Truly Free: A Black Mountain college in the UK?

Here’s an inspiration for a free school or, even better, a University Technical College: Black Mountain College.

Instead of a school for young people ‘turned off by purely academic study‘, as David Cameron puts it, how about one for students radically turned on by an integrated, expansive education?

A challenge for the progressive social entrepreneurs of our age – Matthew Taylor? Geoff Mulgan?

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4 Responses to Truly Free: A Black Mountain college in the UK?

  1. Jon Johnson says:

    This looks like a really good idea but I fear the inclusion of the word radicalisation will result in OFSTED shutting it down following raids by the anti-terrorism unit. This will prevent any random initiative or subversive good ideas creeping out to infect the public consciousness….

  2. Nathalie Palin says:

    What a breath of fresh air!

    It seems to me that on the one hand, UK culture promotes anti-intellectualism, yet as soon as individuals value something other than academic attainment as the pinnacle of achievment, they are ‘demoted’ as ‘non-academics’’.

    I have been looking at Democratic Education models for secondary education in the UK, but it seems that whilst many of them offer really interesting education syllabuses, only those who can afford private-school fees can benefit from such an approach.

    The only school I can find that gets close to accessible democratic education in the UK is the Small School in Hartland, Devon (they still charge, but the cost is about £300 per term, which seems to be around 10% of the cost of most private schools offering democratic/alternative education with any kind of a creative, passionate ethos). Yet they receive no funding from the state, and are increasingly less interesting to trust funders as they have been around too long to be considered ‘innovative’. This lack of support has had a direct impact on quality of facilities and ability to measure success in line with Ofsted.

    How are alternative models of education supposed to compete with standard education in the UK if they are not provided with equal resources to do so? I am hoping that the free schools initiative will indeed allow for some of more schools with ‘integrated, expansive education’ to emerge, but I’m not holding my breath.

  3. Phil Denning says:

    Hi Nick
    Not heard of the Communiversity in Scotland?

  4. Colin Dyas says:

    Or Liverpool’s “Communiversity” in Liverpools Alt Valley. It was set up, and is run by the Alt Valley Community Trust.
    I am no expert in educational history, but it is fair to say that Liverpool developed a highly respectable history in philanthropic and imaginative educational ideas long before “The Big Society” came to town. Unfortunaltely a lot of this suffered under the guardianship of a former Conservative leader saying “there is no such thing as society”