At the start of Why I Started a Small School: A nurturing, human scale, approach to education and parenting, we see the emotional turmoil Rosalyn experienced when she received a letter indicating that her son's difficulties in school were more likely to be the result of her parenting skills, and life at home, rather than having anything to do with the way he was being educated. Her own school days were filled with feelings of failure and low self-esteem, but she overcame many hurdles to become a teacher herself. In this time, she witnessed again and again the damage that the education system was inflicting, not only on some children, but also on their parents. Driven by a desire to ensure that her son should suffer no longer than he had to, and in an effort to help others in a similar situation, she was determined to find a solution. After months of hard work, a new parent-run school opened with 12 children aged from four-11 years. It had seemed that the impossible had come true, for at the time the school opened, there was virtually no funding! Lives were changed forever. Within weeks of the school opening, some of the children became almost unrecognisable as their grim outlook on life was replaced by a confident stature. The learning difficulties that some of them had experienced were far less of a problem in this new nurturing environment. As well as the children changing, their parents became more confident and outgoing too - for many of them had been made to feel inadequate before the project started. Why I Started a Small School: A nurturing, human scale, approach to education and parenting tells the amazing true story of what Rosalyn achieved, and how that dreadful letter was proved to be utterly and totally wrong.
Rosalyn Spencer has an MA in Education by Research. Her lifetime's work has involved finding ways of helping individuals to succeed ranging from young children struggling to survive in mainstream education and teenagers in care, to setting up and running a children's nursery and then a non-fee paying "alternative" small school.