There seems to be increasing interest in the concept of flexi-schooling, an arrangement between parents and school whereby a child's educational provision is shared. A flexi-schooler would spend some days at school, some days learning at home - or off the school site under parental responsibility.
When I first heard about flexi-schooling, I thought, "Great! Best of both worlds." But as I thought more about it, I realised it would be difficult for all parties involved - the school, parent and child - because of the lack of continuity and, from the family's perspective, not belonging fully in either camp with the flexibility of the home schoolers, or the community provided by a school. It must be difficult for schools and teachers to embrace this and to make it work without real vision and dedication, when I know they are so pressed to hit targets and to manage the large numbers of pupils in their classes.
However, there is something refreshing about the idea of a school becoming a learning centre, with an open door to parents and members of the community with valuable skills and interests to share with our children. I like that idea. And that is why I am excited to have discovered that small, rural schools seem to be catching this vision in a bid to survive. In such small schools, where low student numbers mean they are fighting for their very existence, some bold headteachers have realised that throwing their doors open as resource centres for home educators could be a way forward. The schools benefit from extra children on their books - and the funding that entails. For home educating families and their children, the benefits could be huge. I am wondering whether one such school in our locality might provide opportunity for shared project work, for art workshops, for sports opportunities, for access to the school library, to music lessons, to extra-curricular clubs and activities. I intend to meet and talk to the Head of this school and to see where the discussion leads.