Sorry, this school is closed.
The end of an adventure is the promise of new ones!
That’s right: sadly our school has been closed since June 2018.
So what happened?
This might seem sudden to some of you, but the truth is we’ve been struggling somewhat from the start.
To boil it down to the essential points and give you some understanding of the reasons for our difficulties, let’s say that first and foremost we simply opened too soon. Most school projects like ours take something along the lines of one or two years to build, if not more. …We opened in the space of barely two months!
Another fundamental that goes with the first is that we actually never had a proper and stable team. For the first year and a half, most of our staff members were unable to commit to more than a year, if that, and in the end, between staff and volunteer helpers coming and going, the team never remained entirely stable for more than 3 months.
These two factors alone probably suffice to explain that it was never possible for us to lay the groundwork for our school, and to build a strong team dynamic.
Another factor however made things all the more complicated – and not a minor one: our core choice of being an anglophone (or bilingual) Sudbury school in an essentially French environment!
It might sound like a very promising direction to take, but the truth is it requires even *more* efforts, both before opening and to keep it running. We were essentially addressing a minority within a minority: families in Paris who are both into our very radical philosophy of trust and responsibility *and* attached to providing their children with a largely anglophone environment to grow up in (in spite of being in France). And on a very practical level, this simultaneously reduced not only the pool of potentially interested families but also the number of staff members likely to fit the profile, and in general the size of our communication network. In managing the school itself, the School Meetings, the Judicial Committee, any announcement board, etc., the issue of language also invariably added various layers of complication.
Opening a Sudbury school is hard enough as it is. We did not realize that our initial choice of language would only make it all the harder, and once it was made and the 1st families joined, it was hard to turn back.
And in the end we never reached the critical mass such a school requires in order to take off and become viable.
There are a dozen more factors we could bring up, but it all boils down to this: we underestimated the challenge and were insufficiently prepared.
These things happen, of course, and they are valuable lessons for all of us! What’s great and precious is that families – and children in particular – really enjoyed the experience while it lasted, and we witnessed some truly amazing growth in all of them, even in such a short period of time!
For the families, of course, the main concern is to find a new school for their children. At this stage they have all at least set their eyes on another school or two, and some have even already started a trial period. Their experience with a democratic school has had a really positive impact on them all and the schools they are now looking into are essentially along the same lines as what we provided! We’re helping with this transition as we can and are greatly relieved that everyone seems to have a solution or two up their sleeve.
The team members each have their own plans (or budding ideas) of what to do next, but nothing is settled yet. We mostly want to focus on ending things well and would rather take one step at a time.
In the mean time, let the adventure continue for all of us!
Thanks for following. And let’s keep in touch! 😉
A GROUND-BREAKING SCHOOL
Sudbury School Paris is what is known as a democratic school (see video).
As such, it empowers children to grow in autonomy and maturity by trusting them with freedom and personal responsibility within a truly democratic framework.
We offer an avant-garde educational alternative for the English-speaking community in Paris and welcome members of all ages*.
Forget everything you thought you knew about schools, and come and discover the amazing possibilities of the Sudbury approach, where education is redefined in the broadest possible sense!
(*: Our youngest students are around 5 and our oldest around 19. There is no strict age limit)
Democratic Education & Why it is Needed Today