Marchbank Free School will be unique in its approach as it will effectively ‘marry’ two very different approaches to education.
Marchbank Free School recognises that children with social, emotional and mental health difficulties (SEMH) respond well to structure as it helps them to feel safe and secure – they like predictable routines and respond well when they feel confident that they know what is going to happen next. However, we also understand that children need the opportunity to develop a creative response to the world. We have therefore included some influence of the Rudolph Steiner approach to education into the ethos and curriculum at Marchbank.
The Steiner approach is respected worldwide for its ability to produce very able young people who have a strong sense of self and diverse capacities that enable them to become socially and economically responsible citizens. Marchbank Free School understands that children with SEMH also respond well to learning in a practical and artistic manner and would therefore benefit from much of the Steiner approach. They develop a love of reading through listening to stories, taking part in drama and learning rhymes and traditional fairy tales and legends. They are encouraged to use their imaginations through a pictorial and artistic approach to subjects. They engage in practical activities combining traditional games, handcrafts and manual skills with formal learning across each curriculum area.
We therefore gradually, and through a carefully planned development, merge the creativity, pictorial and artistic elements of the Steiner approach with a highly structured approach to learning literacy and numeracy skills to create an innovative, exciting and creative environment which will ‘educate a child’s mind, heart and hands’, ‘The Child, The family, The Outside World – Winnicott’.
It is common for children with SEMH to underperform in achieving expected developmental stages when compared to their mainstream peers. There are numerous reasons that may have been factors but consistent evidence suggests their experiences of emotional damage or turmoil may have restricted them from securing expected milestones. The Free School environment and curriculum allows children to revisit those development areas that have not been secured and offers them the experiences necessary to move through the stages which are so important in building the foundations necessary for future development and learning. Marchbank believes that learning comes easily when it is offered to a child that is developmentally ready.
Our vision is to provide an environment where primary children with SEMH and associated difficulties can access an education that aims to develop the whole child in a healthy and balanced manner addressing their physical, emotional and intellectual capabilities through a developmentally appropriate curriculum.
At Marchbank we celebrate our values and incorporate them into our everyday life.
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Throughout their time in Marchbank children are supported in developing these values through their taught curriculum and through the way people treat them and they are expected to behave. All adult members of Marchbank provide positive role models of these values at all times.
The ethos, environment and curriculum combines to help the children develop qualities which are crucial to enable them to be successful adults; to be articulate, creative, self-reliant, skilled at listening, imaginative and inquisitive.
With a deep understanding of child development, a broad curriculum and creative methodology, we place the changing needs of the individual child at the centre of our work.
We afford equal attention to the physical, emotional, intellectual, cultural and spiritual needs of each child with a curriculum that is designed to work in harmony with the different phases of their development.
Our aim is to equip children with the skills they need to access secondary education where they will continue to develop and leave full time education as well rounded human beings who are resourceful, creative, responsible and curious with the skills necessary to meet the challenges of the 21st century with the problem solving skills required for a sustainable future.
Marchbank Free School has:
At Marchbank Free School we:
Marchbank Free School has responsibility to the wider community and demonstrates: