Having experienced varied educational styles growing up, Kezia, attended both mainstream schools and the world’s first democratic school, Summerhill in Leiston, Suffolk, an experience which left a lasting impact. Later on Kezia graduated from Chelsea College of Art and Design in 2003 in Fine Art going on to establish a career in digital design and marketing, heading up a creative team at a London marketing agency before establishing her own company Draw(). Now mother to two daughters Kezia chose to stay home with her family and home educate her children before embarking on founding East Kent Sudbury School.
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Mother of three boys. Kate had been looking into alternative education after the public school system failed and damaged her sons mental health. She has always been very politically active and believes in democracy wholeheartedly. After reading Peter Gray’s ‘Free to Learn’ Kate immediately knew that a Sudbury model school was what she wanted for her own children, what she passionately believed in and what she wanted to help bring to the UK. Shortly after, Kezia unveiled her plans and things soon slotted into place. Kate is enthusiastic about sociology and psychology and has spent most of her working career within the adult education sector, managing the office and day to day needs of both students and trainers. Kate also ran her own successful business for a number of years before deciding to home educate her own children. She is passionate about cookery and loves to read.
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Over the twenty-five years that Marc Denervaux has been a school teacher in a diversity of institutions and in a variety of capacities (latterly as an expert on 16-19 mathematics and especially preparation for Oxbridge examinations), it became increasingly obvious to him that the mainstream was letting down the vast majority of its charges, and there was ever more limited scope for reform. Over this extended period, he has witnessed growing stratification in schools and a tendency for curriculum delivery to become more rigid. Having spent considerable time on a critique and on the development of an alternative practice, he is now committed to exploring a radically democratic praxis in formal education.
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With a background in English and History of Art Helen is also a highly experienced teacher having worked in a variety of educational settings including Deputy Head at Great Oaks, a special needs school in Kent with a democratic ethos. Helen is also a talented glass and ceramic artist with a studio in Margate and regularly runs workshops and collaborates with local schools on projects.
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Michelle graduated from Oxford University, having attended a progressive international school in Botswana, and spent ten years as a marketing and communications manager in higher education before moving into the entertainment industry. Michelle has worked on marketing campaigns for film studios and publishing houses, as well as start-ups and not-for-profits. Her interest in the Sudbury School model stems from her own passionate belief in democracy, and the year she spent home educating her son after both state and private schools failed him.
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A life-long self-directed learner, Florence experienced various settings growing up studying at Steiner schools in the UK and also The Netherlands and learnt to read by herself at the age of 9. She spent time extensively travelling before studying drawing in Italy and then History of Art in York.
Through watching the curiosity and will that drives her two daughters to develop, combined with her own experience of education, Louise began to wonder why generally children are not given the opportunity to self-direct their own learning. This is how she discovered Sudbury Valley School model and shortly after joined the EKSS founding group. Louise graduated from Leeds University in Spanish and Portuguese and has travelled, worked, and studied in parts of Central and South America, Spain and Hawaii. Her passions include nutrition, health and well-being and she lives on a farm with her husband, children and assorted animals.
Jay studied business administration, marketing and fine arts. He is currently a practicing artist and German language teacher. Jay has worked and lived in Switzerland, Japan and in the UK. He spent his early childhood in an alternative self-sustainable eco-friendly community in the early 1970s in Switzerland. With the birth of his daughter, Jay started exploring various educational methods and eventually came across the Sudbury Valley School which immediately resonated with his beliefs that children should not be forced to learn but given the freedom to learn what they choose to learn. He joined the Founding Group in August 2018.