Neha Patil (Editor)

The Family School

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Established  2007 (2007)
Type  Independent school
Phone  +44 7989 173391
Closed  2012
DfE number  208/6000
Founded  2007
Motto  Where Learning is part of Living
Location  206-210 Lyham Road Larkhall London SW2 5NR England
Address  206 Lyham Rd, London SW2 5NR, UK
Founders  Dil Green, Polly Griffiths
Similar  The Good Schools Guide, St Joseph's Catholic Primary S, Orchard Primary School, Richard Atkins Primary S, Lark Hall Primary School

The Family School at Larkhall was a small, alternative school, based in South London, UK, founded by Polly Griffiths in 2007/8 to offer a Democratic education model to primary age children. The school closed in December 2012.


The Family School was firmly in the Free Schools tradition, with no set curriculum, working on the basis that children are natural learners, and that it is the school's job to provide a rich environment as a context and medium for that learning. The school aimed to support children as they developed towards becoming confident, competent and caring adults. The founding documents of the school set out five principles, on the basis of which the school operated:

  • Support the Developing Child
  • Learning is part of Living
  • Family involvement is Fundamental
  • Ethical Consciousness and Action
  • Self Governance
  • The school was a charity, "reluctantly fee-paying", to quote its literature.


    Polly Griffiths and Dil Green, the founders of the school, worked to develop their ideas over two years with two other families and with Colin Hill, a teacher who had worked at Community and Voluntary Education in South London.

    The Family School was founded in September 2008. For the first two years of its operation, families were officially home educators, as the school was not registered with Ofsted. After registering the school as an Independent School with DfE in September 2010, the school was inspected for the first time by Ofsted in June 2012 and was judged "Good" with "Outstanding" aspects. Unfortunately, the small numbers of pupils attending made the school's financial viability increasingly difficult and therefore the school is currently temporarily closed pending re-opening on its new larger site in West Norwood.


    The school was in premises in Brixton, but the Trustees have acquired a site in West Norwood which will provide its long-term home. The building is being designed by architect Dil Green, who is a founder of the school.


    The school had no set curriculum, and offered few formal lessons. Each pupil's journey through the school constituted the curriculum they followed. However, the school considered that certain skills and abilities were vitally important to enable full participation in society, and these were carefully and consistently incorporated into the school environment.


    The Family School Wikipedia

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