Gamechangers is organised by a committed group of parents who believe in democratic education. The launch has been delayed more than once due to Covid, but we finally launched on 21st April 2021. As volunteers, please bear with us if there are delays in response. Thanks for understanding!
2022/2023 Academic Year
Autumn Term 2022:
Weds 5th Sept - Thurs 20th Oct
Half Term Break: 24th Oct - 28th Oct
Weds 2nd Nov - Thurs 15th Dec
Christmas Break: Frid 16th Dec - Wed 4 Jan
Spring Term 2023:
Wednesday 11th Jan - Thursday 9th Feb
Half Term Break: Mon 13th - Fri 17th Feb
Wed 22nd Feb - Thurs 30 March
Easter Break: 3rd - 14th April
Summer Term 2023:
Weds 19th April - Thurs 25th May
Half Term Break: Mon 29th May - Fri 2nd June
Weds 7th June - Thurs 20th July
We are open on Wednesday and Thursday term time only.
Arrival: 9.30 am
(no later than 9.55 am)
Daily meeting: 10 am
Pick-up: 3.00 pm
Indicative timeline, subject to updates.
June 2019 - Gamechangers project begins
September 2020 - Registered as Community Interest Company
30 March 2021 - First Open Day
21 April 2021 - Launch at Apples & Pears
04 Sept 2021 - Move to Weavers
Weavers Adventure Playground
It has excellent outdoor play structures, artificial football pitches, fire pit, fruit trees and space for garden redevelopment, and a large and warm indoor area with a kitchen and upstairs music/technology/reading area. It has great transport links from Bethnal Green underground and overground and the local buses.
There are 18 places available at Gamechangers.
A core value is that Gamechangers is financially accessible to as many people as possible, so fees are on a tiered scale according to household income. Fees are paid half-termly, in advance. If you are offered a 4 week trial you will be expected to pay for your trial in advance.
£54 per day - More than £50k per year household income
£44 per day - Between £30k and £50k per year household income
£34 per day Between 20k and £30k per year household income
£24 per day - Less than £20k per year household income
We have a limited number of reduced fee places at Gamechangers in order to be able to meet our financial obligations. We may have to ask you to remain on a waiting list for longer if we are unable to offer reduced fee spaces at present. You may be contacted to provide evidence of household income.
We offer 8 reduced fee places out of our maximum 15 spaces.
We will have technology available at Gamechangers. Screens are the primary tool of our culture, our children will most likely need to be competent and confident in them both now and in the future. 'Screentime' has diverse meanings, from YouTube, to coding, to music production, video editing, games. With the necessary connection and relationship with peers, cultivation of feelings of competence, and sense of autonomy, we trust that the children will not choose to spend a detrimental amount of time on screens. All computers will have an age appropriate content lock.
Self directed learning relies on the child's natural curiosity and drive to learn. It is initiated by the child, following their own interests and passions. There is no set curriculum, topics are more likely to be multidisciplinary, and adults facilitate rather than impose knowledge that is not requested. The Alliance for Self Directed Education's optimum conditions for SDL are: a rich environment where there is exposure to the tools of the culture; free age group mixing; child is trusted to take responsibility for their learning, unlimited time to play; facilitators are helpers not judges.
Some children need time to deschool from adult imposed activities and mainstream narratives that prioritise written exercises and a 'banking' form of knowledge accumulation. You can trust that their innate drive to learn will kick in. Self directed learning does not automatically hold children back from attending further education, and children go on to have a diverse range of vocations.
Age group mixing is a purposeful tool, so that children can learn from eachother, and learn to look out for eachother. Cross age friendships are invaluable. The most important thing is to have peers and to be able to play and explore within those relationships.
We have a long term ambition to extend Gamechangers into secondary age provision, but we're starting small and manageable. However, if your older child would like to be part of Gamechangers please get in touch and we can discuss possibilities. Facilitating the learning of under-sixes is a very different task and set of skills to working with children who are a little more independent. For now, we are not accepting applications for children under six.
We value neurodiversity and children who are classified as having Special Educational Needs often benefit from a child directed and democratic setting. We are open to meeting and discussing if we can meet those needs on an individual basis as we do with all of our pupils.
The meeting is at the heart of the day and is an opportunity for students to bring ideas and problems for discussion with the community. Behaviour, community issues, plans for the future and requests for specific resources and activities can all be discussed. Almost everything, except premises and staff, can be changed at Gamechangers as a result of decisions taken at the meeting. People take turns to chair the meeting, Roundspeak is used and there is a consent-based agreement process.
Our facilitators build individual relationships with each of the children that are based upon respect, empathy, trust, active listening and communication. They nurture the child's emotional, social and learning needs. This means that they ask open ended questions, developing activities and visits when requested which are genuinely individually and collectively child directed (according to the children's developing needs, interests and aims). They help the children to problem solve and resolve conflict. They are capable at balancing when to let the flow proceed uninterrupted and when to step in if necessary. They do not reward or praise the children. As we work without assessment they take a flexible, active, ongoing and unconditional interest.
Is it like Steiner, Montessori, Reggio Emili or progressive education? There is an overlap in the idea that 'the environment is the third teacher' (as well as educational professionals and the parents.) This means that we put a lot of effort into the space and excursions, so we can be open to exploration, investigation of theories and interaction through play. Where there is 'strewing' of resources, we are unattached to them being used in a particular way or indeed at all. We emphasise the practise of explicit and implicit consent so we don't follow adult imposed projects, developmental milestones or a national curriculum. We do not focus on any traditional learning expectations and outcomes.
We have a monthly Parent’s Circle meeting, which through alternating Zoom meetings and in-person coffee mornings, in which the parents are able to hear directly from the directors about ongoing projects, issues or changes. This is also a space for parents to ask questions, make suggestions, and discuss topics related to the running of Gamechangers.
PEP (Parent’s Empowerment Picnics)
This is a termly in-person meeting where parents have the opportunity to come together and discuss topics related to self-directed education more in-depth. Topics discussed so far include “boundaries” and “use of technology”. This is a space where parents can share their knowledge and experiences, find inspiration and food for thought, and deepen their knowledge of each other.
The UK education system, through private prep and grammar school, has in many ways historically been two tier. This has reproduced and expanded the opportunities of children who were born privileged and further entrenched the already problematic class system. We are based in Tower Hamlets, which at 57% of households has the highest levels of child poverty in any council in the UK. As active citizens we believe in fairness through equity (treating people differently depending on their need) rather than equality (treating everyone the same and regardless of their need). On this basis we have an incremental daily fee based upon household income/members. The core team are volunteers and we operate on a not for profit basis.
If you've read the whole website and you've still got some burning questions, drop us a line...