1. ITV Report

Ofsted to investigate alternative education project near Bath

Photo: ITV News

The education watchdog has told ITV News it will investigate an alternative learning project near Bath.

At The Green House Education Project there are no uniforms, text books or long days of learning. Children do fewer than 18 hours a week and its founders say it is not a school.

24 children aged between five and 14 are currently being taught at the fee-paying project which says it gives children a well-rounded start to their lives.

OFSTED however, is now examining whether it may breach official guidelines. Katie Rowlett has been to visit the Green House Education Project.

It was developed three years ago by two teachers who were disillusioned with the traditional school system.

We are a group of home-educating parents who decided to collectively create a space where our kids can learn and grow together. We don't have to follow a strict curriculum which means that we can allow the kids to learn and grow at their own pace and follow their passions and develop at their own rates.

– Anna Robinson, Director of The Green House Education Project
The Green House Education Project is not a school according to the people who run it. Credit: ITV News

There are mentors for the children for guidance and the project prizes itself on having nature as the children's first classroom; the mentors say this creates curiosity and inspires learning.

One parent says she has seen a difference in her child's behaviour since attending to the Green House Education Project.

I've just noticed that she has come to life again. She has re-discovered her joy for learning. When I pick her up now she wants to talk about her day rather than when I used to pick her up she used to just say nothing, "I've done nothing."

– Sarah Thomas, Parent
Credit: ITV News

The teaching methods here are not in line with the traditional education model and ITV News understands Ofsted is now investigating the project. Though its Directors say they welcome conversations with the education watchdog.

We are very happy to talk to Oftsed, we welcome that, we'd love to know if there are any grey areas, which Ofsted have said that there are grey areas. We'd love to have a conversation with them, we'd love to talk about what do they require from us. We're very proud of what we've created and we're really happy for them to see children happy and loving learning and I think they probably have the same passion at their core.

– Cindy Adams, Director of The Green House Education Project
Credit: ITV News

While it might be non-traditional, it appears popular. There is a waiting list to get one of the 24 places at the project and parents have been prepared to moved cities to access the education they think their child needs.

  • The government does have a set of home education guidelines.