Published: 28/06/2014
ISBN: 9781783062553
eISBN: 9781783069620
Format: Paperback/eBook

'Rosalyn Spencer's courageous establishment, in 1993, of an inclusive, nurturing, human-scale Small School, was a much-needed exemplar of change in education-provision, in what is now, a socio-ecologically fragmenting Britain. Were such qualities used, to inform the development of Government-funded, parent- and teacher-instigated Free Schools, this would greatly benefit future, UK social cohesion.'
Stuart McBurney: Freelance Lecturer and Author of Ecology into Economics Won't Go more

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About the Author

With over 25 years teaching experience, my lifetime's work has involved finding ways of helping individuals to succeed ranging from young children struggling to survive in mainstream education and tee... read more

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Why I Started a Small School
A nurturing, human scale approach to education and parenting
by Rosalyn Spencer

‘Anyone interested in children and their education should read this’.

More than 20 years ago, long before the days of the UK’s government funded free schools, Rosalyn Spencer was the driving force behind the setting up of a non-fee paying ‘alternative’ small school. She had felt compelled to do this, not only because of the difficulties her 9 year old son was facing in mainstream education, and painful memories of her own schooling, but also because of concerns other parents had shared with her about problems their children were experiencing. Whereas the current free schools are generously funded by the government, Rosalyn opened the school with 12 children with virtually no funding at all.

In this book, the first in a series of three, Rosalyn tells her personal story leading up to the opening of the small school. It demonstrates some of the failings of the education system and highlights the need for alternative approaches. Her story will appeal to childcare professionals, teachers, parents and anybody who enjoys reading memoirs and narrative non-fiction. Following its release as an ebook in March 2013 it received excellent reviews and became an Amazon Number 1 Best Seller.

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This is a book for parents everywhere but especially those who are worrying about problems their child may be encountering in school. This book may be the proof you need to know that it is not your fault, that you have done the very best you can for your child under the circumstances and that perhaps it is the school that needs to examine their methods.

This book is for teachers and child-care professionals too. If you already use a caring, human scale approach towards children and their parents then this book will affirm what you are doing. If you are a teacher or professional who uses ‘throw-away’ comments and/or find yourself blaming the parents when things aren’t working in the classroom, this book should help you to see things from a different perspective. Hopefully, it will encourage you to think again.

This book may be of very great interest to adults who struggled through school themselves and left school with few (or no) qualifications and low self-esteem. It will give you the opportunity to reflect on your own schooling and examine whether your lack of success was really down to your lack of ability or was it down to lack of encouragement and / or imagination on the part of your teachers?

Finally, this book is for anybody who enjoys reading memoirs and narrative non-fiction, especially if you have an interest in parenting and education.


Louth Leader

The Garden Window

The Garden Window

I wasn’t sure what to expect and I soon found I could identify with many of the situations you described both with your own experience and that of your children. It has certainly made me reflect long and hard on both my experiences in education and those of my children.

Congratulations on your book, I think it is a valuable resource for parents and will help to alleviate some of their worries and most importantly offer guidance and hope.

by Anne O.

I am currently homeschooling my toddler and will continue on this path until she wants to make decisions herself or I find a suitabe, small school. Rosalyn has such a path of experiences behind her, making this a beautiful and informative reason her personal journey of education, family and her personal commitment to making a difference.

by Sam Crawford

A captivating and entertaining journey through alternative and interesting aspects of education. A great example of what can be achieved with an abundance of optimism and belief. Rosalyn offers an inspirational story and a happy ending.

by Dennis Rock

Rosalyn's book will surely inspire many parents and teachers to engage with childrens educational needs on a different level. As a parent, I would definately have persued the possibility of an HSE for my two girls if this had been an option.
I was educated at my local Secondary Modern school in Lincoln (1966 to 1971), having failed my 11+. My experience was generally good and I got on well with most of the teachers. I was encouraged and helped all the way, becoming Head Boy and acheiving 4x1's and 3x2's. I can't help feeling it may have been different without the skills of those very good teachers and of course, the excellent support of my late parents.
I hope the 'new' system will allow 'failures' such as myself (and Rosalyn) to flourish.

Loking forward to the next book.

by Steve Ulyat

The focal point of the book is that we all blindly follow the system despite its faults and failings but few, if any, of us have the courage to challenge it, moreover the guts to do something about it. Despite barriers, setbacks and opposition Rosalyn Spencer showed tremendous determination to give her children the best possible start in life, something every parent should aspire to.

by Geoff Needham

Rosalyn Spencer experienced a truly epic journey through our educational system, first as an apprehensive student, and later as a devoted parent and inspirational teacher. In her book, she weaves her experiences together to give us an inspiring case not just for change, but also for hope.

by Ann Hickey, Social Worker and Parenting Specialist

Having taught in comprehensive schools for twenty-seven years I am aware of the problems that can arise, particularly in the transition from primary to secondary school.

Rosalyn Spencer's account of her experience of school both as a student, then teacher and parent, highlights in a clear and balanced way the potential challenges and failings of the state system.

Her vision and determination to seek a viable alternative in providing for her child's needs when the system had clearly failed, is admirable.

by Steve Goss


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