As I sit resting and reflecting after our extraordinary first week which was jam packed with excitement and activity from students and staff, I feel overwhelmed by what we have achieved in such a short space of time and all the things that so many people did to help us get here. There’s still of course a lot of work to do to build our community and gain our important school status so we can operate full-time and open up this opportunity to many more families but for now I am savouring where we are.
I want to take this opportunity to say thank you to everyone that helped bring this vision to fruition.
First thank you to all the members of our founding group. To Kate Coleman for the tireless dedication to this vision, the hours of policy research and writing and discussions. To Marc Denervaux for his always pertinent contributions and realism, for travelling so many times to and from London for meetings and events and for always bringing a sense of calm with him. To Michelle Thomas for the marketing advice, enthusiasm and for being a pillar of support through many wobbles. To Louise Heddle for chairing our meetings and giving unwavering support and all the delicious food and drink supplied to our events and meetings. To Louise Gibbons for the stunning photography which brought life to our vision on our website and in our booklet and other materials. To Claire Smyth for all the incredible resources donated and the hard work to make our Summer Camp a success. To Sarah Bowden who gave time, energy and funds when we needed it and re-injected us all with a can-do attitude when we were exhausted. To Flo Bouzekria for all the little things, leaflet dropping, spreading the word and never wavering in support. To Helen Whitehead for great advice and generous supply of clay. To Naomi Fisher who has been not just a supporter and writer of articles but in many ways a co-creator, although we’ve ended up in different schools – indeed in different countries – our paths have been jointly entwined since we met at a baby group in Hackney several years ago and our separate research and thoughts spurred each other on to challenge our own thinking and find the best possible education for our children.
To our new staff team, Jay Rechsteiner, Rachel Jones and Joe Atkinson for all the time volunteered to help with the set up and running of this amazing new community.
To all of our family and friends who provided childcare, support, a listening ear, donated resources, carried furniture and so much more.
To all the staff, students and families of the other schools and settings that were kind enough let us visit and learn from their experience and wisdom: Sudbury School Gent, Summerhill, Sands School, Sudbury Valley School and Alpine Valley School. And plenty more that we met at conferences, talked to us on Skype, answered emails and generally offered support and advice.
To those who gave us professional advice and wracked their brains to find a way for us to create a democratic community with children whilst still ensuring the legal basis of the company: Peter Smith, Peter Korn, John Deakin and Inspire2Enterprise.
And lastly to all the parents and children that came to our events, told their friends and ultimately are forming our new community.
So thank you all. Here’s to the next chapter of this amazing journey.