Episode #5 – Jason Fletcher, founding Headmaster of Heritage School Cambridge

In this interview, I talk with Jason Fletcher, founding Headmaster of Heritage School in Cambridge.

Heritage is the only school I am aware of that is committed to (and actively promotes) a Charlotte Mason education in the UK. In our conversation, Jason explains its unique pertinence to the educational priorities of our times.

Listen on Soundcloud here.

Or on YouTube here or below.

Or subscribe to the podcast via iTunes here.

We discuss,

  • The fight against apathy and disenchantment
  • The founding of Heritage
  • Charlotte Mason – her history and philosophy
  • How exam preparation distorts ‘true education’
  • Living ideas / books vs “Twaddle”
  • The natural attractiveness of knowledge
  • Narrative history and the importance of giving children a “plausible story” about the past
  • The teaching method of Narration: how it distinguishes itself from spoon-feeding and how it helps children improve their attention (which is in ‘crisis’)
  • The role of the teacher – “masterly inactivity”
  • Christian education and working across faith boundaries
  • The Christian view of the Person – the “mystery of the person” – vs Locke’s blank slate
  • Education as “the Science of Relations”
  • Growth mindset
  • Optimism and anti-reductionism
  • Heritage’s approach to behaviour and discipline; how to create a calm school.
  • The importance of aesthetics in a school
  • Jason’s anti-bureaucratic style of leadership in the school – e.g. in guidance on lesson planning and reporting
  • The Book of Centuries
  • Cross-disciplinary / interdisciplinary education – how to do it properly and how not to do it
  • Nature Study and Nature Walks in the Seasons; environmental education.
  • Charges of “Retreatism”, Luddism or Romanticism. How does Charlotte Mason prepare children for the 21st Century? Answer: the importance of the will. The “directed life”.
  • How counter-cultural Heritage is in its promotion of the “richer things” vs technology, e.g. Smartphones vs dumbphones. iPads vs attention and ruminating on the text; going against the tide.

Links from the episode

  • The Charlotte Mason supporters I dimly mentioned were: Anne Clough, the first principal of Newnham College, Cambridge; Dorothea Beale, principal of Cheltenham Ladies’ College; and Frances Buss, headmistress of the North London Collegiate School.
  • I wrote a separate blogpost about Charlotte Mason here.
  • Heritage’s website
  • Jason’s mother in law’s book that began the Heritage story
  • The Tech-Wise Family – mentioned towards the end
  • The PNEU
  • An example of Narration in action at Ambleside Schools in the US.

Published by willorrewing

I run Keystone Tutors, and a summer nature + creativity camp called The Imaginarium.

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