'Free school' eyes up farm museum site as base

First published in News by

COGGES Farm in Witney has been revealed as the potential site of a new 60-pupil ‘free school’ run by home-educating parents.

Details of the planned location were published on the group’s website, although parents behind the proposal said no site had yet been confirmed.

Last month, we reported mums in West Oxfordshire wanted to open the county’s first ‘free school’ offering a less formal education to four- to 16-year-olds. If approved by the Government, the school would be state-funded but outside Local Education Authority control.

The former Cogges Museum is currently being transferred from Oxfordshire County Council to a charitable trust, which wants to restore it as an active smallholder farm, offering volunteering and training.

Judy Niner, of Cogges Heritage Trust, said: “Cogges Farm is going to return to being an active farmstead open to the public.

“There is space there, and we are looking at different uses that are appropriate, fit together and are going to help us achieve our vision.

“The free school is one of a number of possibilities, and we are having to weigh them all up against each other to see what offers the most appropriate mix of uses to have at Cogges.”

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Mum-of-two Louisa Nutt, 43, one of the parents behind the proposals, said last night: “No site has been confirmed.

“We are currently working on our proposal – which needs to go to the Department for Education in January – at roughly the same time as we will hold a meeting for potential parents, governors and people who want to become involved.”

She added since the idea was revealed in the Oxford Mail at the beginning of December, she and other mums had been contacted by parents interested in the plan.

Ms Nutt said it would become the first Steiner Waldorf school in Oxfordshire if approved. There are 1,000 such schools worldwide, based on the theories of Austrian educationalist Dr Rudolf Steiner and claiming to offer “unhurried and creative learning” to let children explore their artistic and emotional sides.

More formal teaching methods would be introduced for teenagers preparing for GCSEs.

Ms Nutt said: “The idea is that the child marks their own progress and looks at what is wrong and what is correct.

“The principle is the child’s work is never defaced by any adult.

“The child can change it, but the adult has no right to say ‘that is not correct’ or ‘that is spelt wrong’.”

A public meeting about the proposed new free school will be held at 2.30pm on Sunday, January 23, in St Mary’s Church, Witney.

Comments (7)

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9:08am Mon 3 Jan 11

Darkforbid says...

Report of the Dutch Inspectorate
of Education


The Dutch Inspectorate of
Education reported that a
significantly higher percentage
of Waldorf elementary schools
than state elementary schools
visited were judged weak or
very weak...
Report of the Dutch Inspectorate of Education The Dutch Inspectorate of Education reported that a significantly higher percentage of Waldorf elementary schools than state elementary schools visited were judged weak or very weak... Darkforbid
  • Score: 0

9:25am Mon 3 Jan 11

Darkforbid says...

The National Union of Teachers
(NUT) has warned the
Government to stop "playing
with the educational future of
this country" and scrap plans for
"free" schools.
The National Union of Teachers (NUT) has warned the Government to stop "playing with the educational future of this country" and scrap plans for "free" schools. Darkforbid
  • Score: 0

9:43am Mon 3 Jan 11

LilyLangtry says...

what a pity that the wonderful Cogges Farm still stands relatively unused - the animals gone. I find it quite depressing to now read it is going to contain a school.
what a pity that the wonderful Cogges Farm still stands relatively unused - the animals gone. I find it quite depressing to now read it is going to contain a school. LilyLangtry
  • Score: 0

12:04pm Mon 3 Jan 11

Porphyro says...

Given that "free schools" will be funded by all taxpayers, should it not follow that in a given location all local residents should be entitled to say in a local referendum whether they wish their taxes to be used in this way? My understanding is that funding for "free schools" will be taken from the general education budget, which means in effect that other schools will receive less. "Free schools" seem to be a very expensive way of indulging parents who have no interest in the fair funding of state schools for ALL pupils.
Given that "free schools" will be funded by all taxpayers, should it not follow that in a given location all local residents should be entitled to say in a local referendum whether they wish their taxes to be used in this way? My understanding is that funding for "free schools" will be taken from the general education budget, which means in effect that other schools will receive less. "Free schools" seem to be a very expensive way of indulging parents who have no interest in the fair funding of state schools for ALL pupils. Porphyro
  • Score: 0

8:43pm Mon 3 Jan 11

yentiw says...

Ms Nutt (some irony there!!!) said: “The idea is that the child marks their own progress and looks at what is wrong and what is correct.

“The principle is the child’s work is never defaced by any adult.

“The child can change it, but the adult has no right to say ‘that is not correct’ or ‘that is spelt wrong’.”

Sounds like the Hippies of the 60s are returning, with one exception. Some of them were not as dim as this bunch.

The adult has no right... oh dear, what the hell is happening to this country?
Don't these fools realise that these children will grow into adults... oh, perhaps they won't? They'll still be as childish as the fools that want to implement this nonsense!

I suppose they'll have a new sign with 'Formur sight of the Cogs Farme Mooseum' (just so the pupils - or will that be 'poopils'? - understand!)
Ms Nutt (some irony there!!!) said: “The idea is that the child marks their own progress and looks at what is wrong and what is correct. “The principle is the child’s work is never defaced by any adult. “The child can change it, but the adult has no right to say ‘that is not correct’ or ‘that is spelt wrong’.” Sounds like the Hippies of the 60s are returning, with one exception. Some of them were not as dim as this bunch. The adult has no right... oh dear, what the hell is happening to this country? Don't these fools realise that these children will grow into adults... oh, perhaps they won't? They'll still be as childish as the fools that want to implement this nonsense! I suppose they'll have a new sign with 'Formur sight of the Cogs Farme Mooseum' (just so the pupils - or will that be 'poopils'? - understand!) yentiw
  • Score: 0

10:26pm Mon 3 Jan 11

DEnright says...

Where to start? Cogges Farm Museum is a treasure belonging to the people of Witney and beyond. It should not be only available to a privileged group. Also I am unhappy that a so-called Free School should be sapping the resources from our excellent local schools such as Blakes School, Wood Green and Henry Box for the sake of a tiny number of children. The parents should support our fantastic local schools, not steal their money for an experiment of their own.
Where to start? Cogges Farm Museum is a treasure belonging to the people of Witney and beyond. It should not be only available to a privileged group. Also I am unhappy that a so-called Free School should be sapping the resources from our excellent local schools such as Blakes School, Wood Green and Henry Box for the sake of a tiny number of children. The parents should support our fantastic local schools, not steal their money for an experiment of their own. DEnright
  • Score: 0

12:34pm Tue 4 Jan 11

RachelB says...

Regarding the philosophy of Rudolf Steiner, I strongly urge the parents involved to research the school movement thoroughly before proceeding. Worth noting is the existence of a survivors group and critics across the world.

Six Facts you Need to Know about Steiner Education: http://www.rationali
st.com.au/images/sto
ries/papers/Six_Fact
s_You_Need_to_Know_A
bout_Steinerism.pdf
Regarding the philosophy of Rudolf Steiner, I strongly urge the parents involved to research the school movement thoroughly before proceeding. Worth noting is the existence of a survivors group and critics across the world. Six Facts you Need to Know about Steiner Education: http://www.rationali st.com.au/images/sto ries/papers/Six_Fact s_You_Need_to_Know_A bout_Steinerism.pdf RachelB
  • Score: 0

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