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Special Interest Group

Alternative Education

The Alternative Education SIG takes the broadest approach to ‘alternative’ that we can.  We are interested in all forms of out of school educational provision and with ‘alternative’ approaches within schools.  We will facilitate  debate, discussion and exploration around the many issues, philosophical, political, pedagogical and ethical, that surround alternative education from PRUs to home education.  We aspire for this SIG to be a meeting ground for the education which takes place in museums, libraries, homes and open spaces as well as in alternative schools, democratic schools and flexi schools,  and to give a voice to those who realize education and learning differently.  We aim to promote network of critical discussion and supportive resources for researchers, practitioners, writers and thinkers.  We aim to be lively in our debate and in our SIG activity and to represent a vibrant forum of voices in this important and growing area. Research interests within the SIG are widespread and include, but are not restricted to:

  • Home education
  • Flexi- schooling
  • Adult education
  • Forest Schools
  • Free Schools
  • Democratic Schools
  • Self-managed learning
  • Museum education
  • Pupil Referral Units
  • Disruptive innovations in learning and teaching

Our most recent event can be found below. We aim to follow with more events, a Hot Topic contribution at this year’s conference and Blog series in the coming months.  Please feel very welcome to join us – we will be more than happy to have you! 

SIG Convenors

Amber Fensham-Smith, Dr

Lecturer in Education at University of Bedfordshire

Amber Fensham-Smith is Lecturer in Childhood and Youth Studies at the Open University. A Sociologist by training, her research seeks to give voice to marginalised and excluded communities in education. She has a keen pedagogical interest in...

Harriet Pattison, Dr

Lecturer at Liverpool Hope University

Harriet Pattison is a lecturer in Early Childhood at Liverpool Hope University.  She has a background in social anthropology and philosophy and is interested in alter-childhoods and educational possibilities.  Her recent work includes research...