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Letter: funding needed to keep home education service alive

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Dear Editor,

Lantern Home Education is a Waldorf inspired part-time home education setting in Stroud, for children aged 6 to 11 years.

We are Alice Lenagh-Davies and Jenny Thompson, two experienced and qualified teachers who established Lantern in 2020 following the sudden closure of Wynstones Steiner School. Lantern is an educational provision that runs three days a week during term time, based in the wonderful setting of the Christian Community Church.

The number of families in the UK who are electively home educating is increasing, with parents looking to an alternative pathway from a full-time mainstream model of education. Teacher shortages, funding constraints, large class sizes and lack of capacity for children with additional needs are just some of the challenges facing parents of school aged children today. 

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There are an increasing number of parents who feel that a mainstream setting is simply not appropriate or desired or does not suit the needs of their child.

At Lantern we are not bound by the national curriculum and being a small setting, this allows us to offer a tailored and bespoke programme, suited to the individual needs of the children before us.

Choosing to electively home educate can seem daunting to families who are unfamiliar with it, but Stroud benefits from having a strong home educating community, as well as a number of alternative education settings.  Running three days per week offers children at Lantern the time and space to pursue a myriad of other interests and hobbies, including creative activities, music and sports. Parents often share that this flexibility is really appealing.

According to one Lantern parent, “It is a real gift that the Stroud community offers inclusive, and diverse options that suit an array of learning needs, where parents can also make decisions that are child-centred, and interest driven.”

Parents highlight just some of the strengths of Lantern Home Education:

“The quality of teaching. Groups are well held and there are positive dynamics between child, parent and teacher.”

“Teacher’s knowledge of the children, the pastoral care, and end of year reports are second to none.”

“A sense of belonging to the community.”

“Flexibility within the curriculum brings real creativity, and the freedom to meet the children in an age-appropriate way.”

Children at Lantern enjoy a rich and active learning experience in a warm and caring environment that fosters imagination, creativity, exploration and independence. Academic rigour forms a strong foundation for all teaching and learning, whilst also being rooted in an understanding of child development and how that informs the child’s personal, social and educational wellbeing. Children are taken on an imaginative journey through language, literature and number, humanities, arts and crafts, drama, movement, music and natural sciences. Small teaching groups enable us to establish and nurture strong relationships with the children.

A parent shares: “The tutors are experienced and qualified, nurturing and dedicated and have a real love for teaching. The classes are small, so each child receives the connection and individual learning that they need.”

However, there is no public funding available for home education, which can make accessing services challenging for many families. At Lantern, we endeavour to provide bursary funding each year to make our provision more inclusive and accessible to all families. 

Now in our fourth year of operation, Lantern Home Education is looking for business funding / sponsorship to support sustainability and growth and expand our provision to offer more teaching groups. As is the case with all new initiatives, home education provisions thrive through positive examples, and their successes can affect real change in our communities. Your involvement can contribute towards supporting a sustainable, high-quality provision that meets each child as an individual and offers a secure and nurturing environment in which they can learn. 

We firmly believe in offering an affordable alternative for families who want a genuine choice in educational provision. We are seeking funding and investment in support of these aims.

Please donate via our Go Fund Me page https://gofund.me/69c241da

Alice Lenagh-Davies and Jenny Thompson

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