Hebden Bridge School, whose slogan is ‘creative, soulful, democratic’, is deliberately named after the town whose principles it aims to embody and will open in September.
With 20 pupils per year group and a ‘democratic’ governance structure, everyone at Hebden Bridge will have their say.
Lead teacher Anil Sarna says: “We are an alternative school in an alternative town offering a pioneering response to how to educate our children for tomorrow’s challenges.
“The town offers a huge variety of experiential learning opportunities with educators, local craftsmen and artists willing to work with us.
“Education needs to improve communities, not just individuals, so our students will plan and carry out voluntary projects to protect the environment.”
The school will be located in the historic Birchcliffe Centre, with large classrooms and woodland space to enable the school to use natural surroundings in teaching. It is the headquarters of Pennine Heritage, the environmental trust which aims to support the cultural, economic and environmental quality of the South Pennines and is also home to artists, potters, therapists and yoga schools, local e-trials and an extensive digital archive of images of the region.
The Birchcliffe Centre
“The Birchcliffe Centre oozes history and has all the facilities we need – beautiful rooms, outside space for nature projects and permaculture and a well-equipped kitchen,” continues Anil. “Sharing this space with Pennine Heritage will encourage the students to find out about local history and means we are wonderfully situated to accomplish all of our educational goals.”
Judith Schofield, chair of Pennine Heritage, says: “We are now really looking forward to working with the new School and believe that together we can ensure the conservation, management and enhancement of this very special region.”