Kilquanity School (near Bridge of Urr) was a unique and progressive school, sadly missed by former pupils and parents when it closed in 1997.
The good news is that this jewel in the crown of Dumfries and Galloway re-opened in April 2009.
Like Dr Who, Kilquanity regenerated in a new form. It is different from the old Kilquanity in practical ways (eg health and safety, 21st century technology) but philosophically it’s the same school.
How is the school run?
The school is basically run by the children. There’s a weekly Council Meeting of all pupils and staff, chaired and minuted by children on a rota, to discuss minor but vital day-to-day matters: breakages, lost property, someone not cleaning up properly. It’s the children who decide how to deal with the miscreants among them.
All members of the community work together for the benefit of all. Literally, in small teams, for about 40 minutes every morning after breakfast: cleaning, gardening, preparing snacks for break, preparing vegetables for cooking, maintaining bicycles, recycling waste. This is called ‘Useful Work’. For the children it’s learning by doing. Each team has a leader who understands the job and takes responsibility, with the team, to make sure it’s completed, including putting away any tools.
What about lessons?
Kilquanity is a child-centred school where each child is allowed to develop at her own pace.
In a teacher-centred school, adults make the majority of decisions; Kilquanity respects children’s initiative, thinking, ideas, processing, testing and evaluation. Teachers prepare the environment and conditions that invite spontaneous learning.
English and Mathematics are core studies for all children. In other lesson times, the content of the lesson is negotiated with individual teachers. The curriculum is flexible, continuously evaluated and modified in relation to the children. Each child is acknowledged as having his own learning style, aptitude and rate of development.
The school does not conduct any formal testing of children, unless by agreement with an individual child and her parents. Kilquanity does not take part in standardized assessments.
The new Kilquanity is a day school for children up to the age of 12. It can take 15 pupils. Headmaster Andrew Pyle intends that, while these children are going through their primary years, he will complete the bureaucratic process necessary to set up the secondary school part of Kilquanity.
Kilquanity School was originally inspired by the teachings of educational pioneer A. S. Neill: ‘The function of a child is to live his own life – not the life his anxious parents think he should livenor a life according to the purpose of the educator who thinks he knows best.’
To find out more about Kilquanity School, phone 01556 650608
or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Kilquanity is a Scottish Registered Charity no. SCO39580.