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.
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- 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.