collage - capture. collect. reflect.

Hi, I’m Sarah…

I was a headteacher, I’m now a home educating parent of two children. I want to support home schooling parents with information and connections, to help them make the best choices for their families.

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My background

I’m a qualified teacher with a Masters in Education. I was even a Headteacher for 9 years. I was passionate about my school, grew it from 65 to 167 pupils, oversaw the creation of nursery provision and attained ‘outstanding’ status from Ofsted.

I love being a teacher, watching children grow and flourish, overcoming their individual challenges and discovering their talents.

Why did I leave?

Probably for many of the same reasons you are here, reading this! Education in the UK changed. The introduction of a new high pressure curriculum, weekly testing, data capture that didn’t reflect an individual child, extra burdens on teachers, reduced funding for schools and the arrival of my own two children led me to reflect on why I started out in education, and what I wanted for my own children.

I realised that the current UK state education provision wasn’t suitable for me or my family, and so we took the plunge – I left my role as Headteacher and I de-registered the children.

Our home education journey

The first few days, weeks and months of home schooling were not anything like I expected. Being a teacher, I tried to take the same classroom model onto my kitchen table. Suffice to say, my eldest just looked at me and said, “You are my mum, not my teacher!”

I had started doubting my ability to teach them at home, fretting that they would not do well! I had to take a step back, unsure about how to approach it I sought advice from experienced home schoolers. This immediately made me feel less lonely and isolated. I started a period of de-schooling, where the children and I learned what it was like to not be at school. I had to discover what made them tick and how we could work together. We linked with more families through homeschooling groups which helped us make friends. I was initially worried about how we would be treated within society, but I reminded myself of all the amazing things my children do through homeschooling and I soon got over that!

Gradually we found a structure and a rhythm that suited us, but we are constantly learning. I soon realised that ten minutes worth of focused one-to-one learning was far more effective than what they would receive in an hour long lesson with thirty children in a class.

Why Collage?

Since beginning our home school journey, I have collected 1000s of pictures, videos, audio and notes. I wanted a way to collate all the information, to make it easy to search and at a glance, review what subjects we have covered and what we might have missed.

It struck me that there could be a way to take all of my ad hoc evidence and turn it into something purposeful – as an official record, a journal, an opportunity to reflect on progress and celebrate successes. I did engage with my LA, I felt nervous about their expectation but they loved Collage and the meeting felt easy showing them reports and overviews of each subject.

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My Vision

Choosing to home school is a huge decision. You may know that your child is not thriving (or worse) at school, but the pressures from wider family, friends and society make it hard to clearly understand what you are able to achieve yourself. Collage is here to support you from your first steps.

I have a unique perspective, being both a home schooler and with my experience as a Headteacher. I have an in depth understanding of the UK National Curriculum and a passion to see children thrive in their educational setting, wherever that may be! I want to be able to support home schooling parents, with information and connections to help them make the best choices for their families. Part of that is creating the Collage app and platform. It’s designed to support home schoolers, from un-schoolers to curriculum followers, to record and celebrate their children’s successes and achievements, all at a pace that is right for them.