Pioneered by Maria Montessori to educate the poor in Italy, to the uninitiated, Montessori methods may seem like a free-for-all.
The reality is carefully thought out and planned learning aims, objectives and outcomes.
Homework, testing and exams are seldom found, the Montessori method concentrates on personal development and progress. Mostly confined to pre-school and early years education in the UK.
Montessori in the classroom
What isn't prescriptive is the route a child will take to get there; creativity and exploration and problem-solving are encouraged, children move freely around the classroom and are wholly involved with and absorbed in their learning, they work at their own pace and are assisted or prompted to solutions only as necessary. Older children join forces with younger, they become instructors and befrienders, revising and reinforcing their own knowledge by working with and helping younger ones. The apparent lack of structure can be a problem for some youngsters; others relish the freedom to explore.
Not for the faint-hearted teacher and nor, it would seem, for the state sector, if attempts by Brighton and Hove Montessori School are anything to go by. They have battled for over a decade to join the state sector, finally going to the schools’ adjudicator, only to be told:
‘It may prove too popular and detract from other schools in the locality’!
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Identifying and locating grammar schools. Grammar schools are located in 36 English local authorities. Almost half of these are considered 'selective authorities' (eg Kent and Buckinghamshire), where around one in five local children are selected for grammar school entry based on ability. The others are areas such as Barnet or Kingston, with only a few grammar schools.
As proud parents, we all know our children are unique. They're smarter than anyone else's, funnier, certainly more attractive, better behaved and above all bursting with the kind of talent that would leave Daniel Radcliffe, Jamie Bell and Charlotte Church standing. And for some extraordinary - though totally understandable - reason, everyone but us seems blind to our offspring's God-given artistic gifts.
The headmaster/mistress runs the school but boarding houses are usually the domain of either houseparents or, in smaller schools, the head of boarding. Whilst the housemaster/mistress oversee the house, the day-to-day running is usually under the supervision of a matron.