The London Acorn School first opened its doors on 15th September 2013 with just six children.
It began with a founding group of parents exploring the prospect of setting up a new school in London with a holistic approach. Taking inspiration from progressive educational settings, such as Steiner Waldorf and Montessori, the founders wanted children’s wellbeing to be prioritised and their needs met beyond academic progress. At the same time, the governance, clear standards and robust, accountable structures of mainstream settings were regarded as equally important in establishing a school.
Where was the affordable school in London that understood that childhood is not a race and which was open-minded to see that there is not ‘one method’ to achieve this?
A visit to the Cotswolds to see the work of Sarah and Graeme Whiting at The Acorn School in Nailsworth was a key inspiration due to the high standard of work in their holistic setting. Our school is named in tribute to this original source of inspiration. The London Acorn School has since developed its own identity, curriculum, ethos and structures.
The lease of Morden Cottage and Department of Education permissions took a year and a half to achieve, with many meetings with The National Trust and the local authority planning team. The first faculty member of staff employed was Eileen Riley, a wonderful Kindergarten teacher who formed the base ethos of the Kindergarten provision we have today.
In our first three years, the Lower School was primarily shaped by the Steiner Waldorf curriculum. Today, we offer a blended approach of Steiner and mainstream approaches to meet the developmental needs of all our pupils. Our school was deemed ‘Outstanding’ at our first full Ofsted inspection in 2014. In December 2017 the school was inspected under the new and fuller inspection framework and achieved a ‘Good’ rating.
Founding and building a school from scratch is a huge endeavour, and there have been many challenges and learning points along the journey so far. Through all this, the strength of our community has been an inspiration. We are very much a community school at all levels, not only in terms of our ethos of family-school partnership, but also in terms of our governance.
Throughout our evolution the school has continued to build on the founding principles, and we are now proud to boast a varied, capable and proven faculty, coordinated by Deborah Speakman, our Head Teacher, who brings great experience as an educator and leader.