Why the sheep?

It’s a pretty picture, of a beautiful place and the sheep evoke a rural idyll. But I have spent my life not being a sheep, (or if I am, I’m a black one) and not following the crowd. And then Will Deresiewicz’s book Excellent Sheep hit a nerve. The prevailing education system in the UK seems focused, through its testing and targets, on creating exactly that: herds of students who will answer a set question, in a set way, for a set mark. This doesn’t only miss the point of education, it’s doing our children and their childhood a disservice.

I believe in creating educational spaces and environments which encourage children to ask questions, always learn and make choices about the ways in which they want to live their lives. 


The four year old who asks questions incessantly has the potential to become the 40 year old who discovers how to slow the growth of a cancer. Education has the power to nurture children’s natural curiosity and desire to learn. As educators in the era of rapid technological advance, we have a responsibility to question and challenge accepted educational norms and re-design the ways in which children learn. Read more.


I started to prototype my vision for an alternative to mainstream education when I founded a tiny, community school in Tuscany. Poggio d’Oro allowed me to test theory and grapple with the reality of setting up a learning community from scratch. Read more.


One mamma (with a long distance commuting papa), three children and a lot of fig trees. Why I moved my family to Italy for a life-learning experience. Read more.

'the love of, the mastery of - the thing' 
Gerard Manley Hopkins

‘the love of, the mastery of – the thing’
Gerard Manley Hopkins