THE FRENSHAM SPIRIT
There is an energy about Frensham which is hard to describe. It's a feeling of happiness and lightness, a sense of freedom. It comes from all the children being comfortable in their own skins, their own clothes. With no prefects or head boys and girls, everyone is on a level playing field. They can be who they are. And it comes from our foundation of exceptional pastoral care which thrives on the genuine relationships which develop between all members of the community - looking out for one another.
FIRST NAMES & UNIFORMS
If you ask someone who’s never visited Frensham, they’ll probably just say we’re a school that uses first names and doesn’t have uniforms. It might be said with a hint of doubt. That’s a bit weird, right? But, if we look around at our modern society – the workplace, family life – is it really so strange?
These are actually very simple things, very natural things and their effect in a school setting is quite refreshing – ultimately by taking away that hint of doubt about doing something differently, that worry about being a bit weird.
Ours is an environment that says come and be you. If you love dancing, then do that. If you love science, then great do that. If you love wearing woolly hats all year, that’s fine too. Be yourself, be open-minded and you’ve already created the perfect environment for learning.
A LEVEL PLAYING FIELD
As from our founding days, everyone at Frensham is on a level playing field. When you come here, you can just relax and be yourself. The teachers don’t hide behind titles or formal clothes and the children’s individuality isn’t hidden behind uniforms or false respect. Egos are left at the door. The Head, the littlest nursery child, the newest teacher, the shyest sixth former, the part-time TAs, the support staff. Everyone is an equal, important, valued part of the community.
Teachers don’t have to spend time telling students to pull up their socks, instead they have conversations, build relationships. Really special relationships built on genuine, mutual respect and interest. Relationships that spark learning.
FREEDOM & RESPONSIBILITY
Contrary to what many believe, Progressive Education is not without boundaries. Respect underlies everything we do at Frensham; respect that is earned, not demanded or assumed. We give children more freedom than at other schools, but with freedom comes responsibility and we have high expectations of everyone in our community.
There is a misconception that a school without uniforms and with children walking together rather than in lines is a school without discipline. It is true that we don’t give detentions and the sanctions we do give out are not done on a whim for minor mistakes. What we do, and this takes much more time and patience, is talk and listen.
Our students make mistakes, everyone makes mistakes and that is okay, it’s how you grow. You own your mistakes, learn from them and move on. But, the first time is a mistake, and the second time is a choice and you will find then that there are consequences at Frensham, just like at every other school. In any other tight-knit community.
Being shut down or shut out is an easy option all around. It stops the conversation, shuts the door and doesn’t allow anyone to move forward or grow up. At Frensham, discipline is based on conversations. It’s not an easy, laissez-faire option. These are difficult two way conversations about putting your hands up and owning and accepting your choices, rectifying, moving on and becoming the best version of yourself.
The freedom is here to help our students grow into open-minded, courageous, well-rounded individuals and for the most part they stand up and embrace the responsibility and the trust that goes along with that. It is truly refreshing and the perfect opportunity to get ready for life beyond school.