By Blossom Gottlieb, 6.2
A vegetarian school where the students choose whether to take exams or not? Sign me up!
On 13 March, a group of three students in 6.2 took a trip with Al McConville to Brockwood Park School, only 15 minutes away in Alresford, to join their Inquiry Time (described as their “weekly opportunity to look deeper at issues arising in life, living together, the intentions of the school and how we respond to them”) and get involved in their Human Ecology (aka Outdoor Work on steroids!)
I was struck not only by the beautiful surroundings of the school, but the sense of community that we experienced in the assembly as soon as we arrived. Sat in a circular formation around a few meditating people in the centre of this octagonal timber-roofed room, the atmosphere of peace was incomparable.
Inquiry Time is an hour and a half session where students and teachers discuss a topic of importance, without debating it, enabling them to share their opinions without fear of judgement. The question for last Wednesday was How does education affect us and how do we affect education? This led our group to question what ‘education’ is, semantically; whether examinations serve a purpose; whether schools actually ‘educate’ their pupils; and the impact education has on society.
After this, we got involved in Outdoor Work-style jobs. For Al, this was repotting plants and digging; for me, it was watching a documentary on re-growing vegetation in land that has been deforested, then wiping leaves, a task which allowed me to time to reflect on the morning.
It was a delightful and enlightening experience and I really enjoyed getting to know a few of Brockwood’s lovely students and teachers – I only wish more Bedalians had taken the opportunity to visit such a wonderful school.