Our approach is one that has so far successfully married most if not all of the opinions from both sides of the education divide relating how education can or could be delivered, and from this, we have achieved a broad and successful outcome, that benefits all of the children who attend our school.
Over time we have built up a wealth of Parental comment and Feedback all of which has been extremely positive; take a look below and form your own opinion, the original letters are available in school should you wish to read the full letter in each case.
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Parent quotes from letters received by the school;
Dear Mrs Mountford Lees, I just wanted to let you know that Emily has now been moved into the top sets in Maths, English, Science etc at her secondary school. Emily’s mother and I are convinced that Emily’s success now is due, in a large part, to the excellent start she had at Hollinsclough.
Mr S Mansfield
‘We are so pleased that our son is able to attend your wonderful school. Thank you for your caring, sensitive approach and also for your patience. We can’t imagine that we could have possibly found a better school for him to attend and can’t thank you enough for all your hard work.’
‘Thank you so much for all you did for our children, we do miss you’.
‘I am looking forward to working together over the next twelve months and I am confident with the right home/school agreement in place we will see a big leap in his progress in all areas. He enjoys coming to school and is looking forward to starting year 6.’
‘Thank you to you all for making our daughter so happy in the classroom, she loves coming to school and being with her friends there.’
‘Hollinsclough School has been the perfect place for our son to regain his confidence inteachers and get to know himself and what he is capable of. We are sopleased with all the opportunities Hollinsclough has given him in a safe andvery human environment, thank you.’
‘Hollinsclough Primary is an outstanding school, the only one in the country which makes practical emphasis on individual development both by allowing flexi-schooling as a general school policy. Hollinsclough school is a great choice for us as they provide a normal state school education, while also actively supporting parents who wish to Home Educate their children and they truly tailor their approach to suit individual requirements. Overall, we feel they provide both quality and personalised learning. Our son has felt much at home in Hollinsclough, he is settled now and goes to his new school easy and with anticipation, a stark contrast to his previous school where he was unhappy.’
‘Thank you for all you have done to encourage us in the home education of our children and for changing the face of school education. The terms of the debate will never be the same again after your pioneering work. We wish you personally, and the whole community at Hollinsclough School all the very best as you struggle for a saner future in Britain’s schools.’
‘Hope you remember us….. we remember you!!! It means a lot to us to have had you good people at Hollinsclough School in our children’s lives and we will always think of Hollinsclough as a massive plus in their life story! Good luck to your school and all who teach and learn there.’
‘I think that Hollinsclough School encapsulates a very special, creative and innovative approach to young people and their education. Mrs Mountford-Lees is very approachable. She is creative, flexible, caring and has a concise but deep knowledge of her specialist subjects. We are very fortunate in being able to access this flexi-school. My child has made astonishing progress and I am in awe of how well the team at Hollinsclough manage successfully to meet the demands of all the parents and children there, whilst providing effective learning between home and school. This, in my opinion, is a very viable, intelligent way to organise education.’
‘I just wanted to thank you and everyone in the school for all the support you have given our family. My daughter fitted into Hollinsclough Primary School straight away and I’m sure this was down to the support she received from both you and her teacher. I truly believe the transition from home-education to full-time secondary school was made easier through attending Hollinsclough Primary School.’
‘Our son started off in the usual Primary school situation but it did not suit him and he was becoming an unhappy little boy. We considered alternative local schools then looked at homeschooling, which posed questions around socialisation and guidance of learning and teaching. A friend emailed me about Hollinsclough Primary School. It is a very special school for many reasons, not just the options available for attending… the staff at Hollinsclough have a very flexible approach to teaching and learning and they treat the children as individuals and value their diverse experiences, while also creating a group of children who are very close to each other. In our opinion, Hollinsclough have created a superb model.’
‘I am writing to say a huge ‘thank you’ to you and the rest of your staff, for having such a wonderful little school and for helping my children settle back into mainstream education. What we needed was a kind of flexi-school, with understanding staff and a Head Teacher who understood school anxiety, without judging, but not full time…. Wouldn’t luck have it that we came across Hollinsclough. Your presence, the ethos of the school and the environment offers a peaceful haven. We will never forget this wonderful little place.’
‘Thank you for creating an environment of enthusiasm for learning, appreciation for growing and room for making mistakes along the way. We appreciate all of your hard work and the positive learning environment you provide for the children in your class. Hollinsclough should be proud to have such a wonderful teacher (Mrs O’Sullivan).’
‘Thank you for having us, it’s been a fantastic experience and we will miss you all.’
‘Thank you for the wonderful and inspiring time my two boys have had at your beautiful gem of a school. I feel privileged that we were able to be part of it. We will never forget Hollinsclough and its wonderful team. Thank you again.’
‘Thank you for all your hard work and caring attitude. Our daughter has really enjoyed coming to school and you all helped her to settle in so well and feel so welcome.’
‘Our daughter suffers from anxiety and unfortunately, she had become extremely anxious and was refusing to attend school. From her first visit to Hollinsclough through to the slow and steady way in which we were allowed to introduce her back into school, all staff were nothing but understanding, kind and considerate of us as parents and of her as a child. Slowly and surely encouraged by your team she began to regain her confidence and trust in teachers and school. In a world in which people are often quick to criticise and not too quick to compliment, we would like to say a huge thank you for all you, the staff and children of Hollinsclough have done, you have made a great deal of difference not just to our daughter’s life but also ours for which we are truly grateful. We lost our fun loving little girl for a while and we are happy to say she is almost back.’
‘Both of our children attend Hollinsclough School, it is local to us and was chosen for the extremely friendly atmosphere and inviting appearance from both staff, the facilities, as well as the stunning village location which is an added bonus to learn in such a tranquil part of the Peak District. Our children are clearly learning and enjoy school, which is due to the Headteacher, Mrs Mountford-Lees, and her staff’s approach to delivering the National Curriculum in the best way possible to benefit all children within the setting. We are lucky that Hollinsclough is so local to us and applaud Mrs Mountford-Lees on her support and dedication for the school.’
A supply teacher comments
‘I would just like to say thank you for everything during my time at Hollinsclough. It has been inspiring and a great honour to work under a headteacher that cares so much about all staff and children. Thank you so much for the opportunity. I don’t think I will ever work under someone so inspiring like you in the rest of my career and I have loved every second, Thanks again.’
Other Schools comments on Flexi-schooling after a visit to Hollinsclough
‘Just a brief note to thank you for a most enjoyable and informative presentation. We were most impressed with what you have achieved over the last few years and we returned convinced that Flexi-schooling will be the way forward for our school too.’
Here at Hollinsclough CE Academy we fully support a parents right to determine the route their child or children’s education should take which is made clear in the Education Act 1996. This is further reinforced in Article 2 of Protocol 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights that states;
“No person shall be denied the right to education. In the exercise of any functions which it assumes in relation to education and to teaching, the State shall respect the right of parents to ensure such education and teaching is in conformity with their own religious and philosophical convictions.”
Parents have a right to educate their children at home. Section 7 of the Education Act 1996 provides that:
“The parent of every child of compulsory school age shall cause him to receive efficient full-time education suitable;
(a) to his age, ability and aptitude, and
(b) to any special educational needs, he may have,
either by regular attendance at school or otherwise.”
The responsibility for a child’s education rests with his or her parents.
An “efficient” and “suitable” education is not defined in the Education Act 1996 but “efficient” has been broadly described in case law* as an education that “achieves that which it sets out to achieve”, and a “suitable”education is one that “primarily equips a child for life within the community of which he is a member, rather than the way of life in the country as a whole, as long as it does not foreclose the child’s options in later years to adopt some other form of life if he wishes to do so”.
* Mr Justice Woolf in the case of R v Secretary of State for Education and Science, ex parte Talmud Torah Machzikei
Hadass School Trust (12 April 1985)