Park School has been established for over 31 years and is one of the longest running alternative schools in the UK. It provides a learning environment which addresses the social, emotional, intellectual, physical, spiritual and creative needs of each child, helping them to realize their unique potential. The school welcomes children of all cultural backgrounds and beliefs and is set in spacious grounds on the historic Dartington Hall Estate in South Devon. Relationships at Park are special. Park is a Human Scale School where relationships are very important. It is the quality of relationships within the school which most often strikes visitors and newcomers. The individuality of each child is valued and children learn to respect themselves and others and to become constructive members of the school community. Children are encouraged to be responsible for their own behaviour, to understand its effects, and to gain insight into themselves and others. Small classes mean that there is time for personal attention as well as the space and freedom for individual expression.
A weekly school meeting provides a forum for all children and staff and helps to give children a voice in the school. Anybody can raise a matter for debate and both children and staff chair the meetings. Children are at the heart of the school. Park is built around the needs of its children. Therefore teaching is at the child’s own pace and structured in a way which helps them to reach high standards. Children have a voice in the school and options and choices are available from the start.
Teaching is often supported by outside experts, for example in music, the arts, environmental education, dance and drama. Parents also share their skills with children under the guidance of staff, offering contributions as varied as singing workshops and computer skills or reading with children.
The combination of parents and teachers working together for the benefit of the children is a vital part of the strength of Park School - indeed this prospectus was produced in this way!
As well as organising the programme of social and fundraising events, parents also help to maintain the school by taking part in the Parent Community Group which is organised by two Parent Coordinators. There are also Parent Class Helpers and two elected parents are on the school’s Council of Management which has overall responsibility for Park. Parents also provide valuable assistance in the classroom under the teachers’ guidance. We are committed to Safeguarding and protecting the welfare of children and have Child Protection and Safeguarding Policies in place.
Communication between parents, staff and children is very important. There is a fortnightly school newsletter and regular parent/teacher meetings are held, along with class presentations. The annual Strawberry Fair is a popular event in the locality with parents and children working hard to make it a success.
AMANDA BELLAMY JOHN WOODHOUSE
TEACHER IN CHARGE CHAIR OF COUNCIL OF MANAGEMENT