Plans for new Carlisle school expand


Efforts to create a new school in Carlisle have expanded.

Those behind plans to open Holme Head School have now teamed up with education specialists in Nottingham to develop a new school model.

The Carlisle-based World Health Innovation Summit (WHIS) social enterprise is also involved.

The WHIS Kids School model being developed looks provide children and families with an alternative form of education, based on best practice sourced from around the world.

We want to ensure things are of a high standard and we want to bring something new to this area

Children would be encouraged to enjoy free play up until the age of seven.

Proposals also state that parents and children would be supported to choose how they want to develop and what subjects or projects they want to learn, identifying what learning styles suit them best.

The core curriculum will be based on wellbeing including relationships, community and emotional health.

Educators will regularly use mindfulness and meditation with children and links with care homes will be forged to ensure youngsters and older people spend time together.

Those involved in developing the plans include WHIS founder Gareth Presch and Carlisle mothers Samantha Irving and Alison Pate.

They are being assisted by Nottingham-based emotional wellbeing specialist Jackie Wilson and Deborah Haddon, an experienced assistant headteacher.

The group says its work is not to be confused with the existing WHIS Kids programme which runs workshops in schools to help primary-aged pupils to focus on emotional wellbeing.

Once complete, the hope is that the WHIS Kids School model could be adopted by anyone seeking to use it.

Work to complete the curriculum is now expected to be completed by the end of December.

The WHIS Kids School group then plans to submit a bid to the Department for Education seeking permission to open its free school at Holme Head House, Denton Holme, and another in Nottingham.

Hopes are that a successful bid would pave the way for the schools to open next September.

Aims are for the Carlisle school to be an independent school.

The group hopes to secure grants and sponsorship to keep costs low or free for families.

Mr Presch said: "We're looking to build partnerships with businesses and organisations that are interested in education."

Mrs Pate, who has two young children, added: "We want to ensure things are of a high standard and we want to bring something new to this area.

"It will be an independent school but it will not be fully funded by fees. We want diverse funding so that the financial element doesn't just fall to the families. We don't want a financial reason to be why people can't come."

Holme Head School would operate in Holme Head House, which is owned by Carlisle childcare specialists Emmy and Roger Sealey.

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