About Us

Progressive Education is a social enterprise (certified by Social Enterprise UK) working to reimagine education.

This website explores why we need progressive alternatives to conventional methods in education, provides information on what the alternative approaches are, and shares ideas about how education could be reimagined.

Our directory of education providers lists progressive schools and learning communities for school-aged children and young people (4-18 years). The directory was initially a UK initiative but you can now submit a listing from all over the world. The categories include MontessoriReggio EmiliaDemocratic/Self-Directed EducationForest SchoolSmall Schools and Waldorf Steiner. We also have a list of online schools and opportunities for hybrid learning.

What is Progressive Education?

Just for clarity – as Progressive Education means different things to different people – we’re going with the dictionary definition, using the adjective “progressive” referring to change, transformation and looking to the future, as opposed to maintaining the status quo.

For us, it’s about moving away from a top-down authoritarian approach, and prioritising agency, autonomy, student voice, choice, mental health and wellbeing, as well as 21st century life skills such as creativity, collaboration, communication and critical thinking.

We take inspiration from models outside of the conventional school system as well as innovations taking place within mainstream.

Get Involved

If you are feeling inspired, there are a number of ways to get involved:

Have a look through our Voices from the Sector pages to hear why progressive education is so important for the 21st century. You can hear perspectives from parents, teachers, progressive educators, young people, state school innovators, psychologists and researchers.

We hope you will find these resources useful.

How it Started

The Progressive Education website was created in 2020 by Jo Symes, a mum from the UK, following the success of her Progressive Education Group on Facebook.

Jo set up the Facebook group as a result of a disappointing start to her sons’ schooling, which set her on a path exploring alternative approaches to conventional education. The group is growing rapidly and is now an international community of almost 10k parents/carers, teachers, school leaders, students/young people, academics, education innovators/changemakers, psychologists and researchers.

So many inspirational resources were being shared in the group – from TED talks, academic papers, books, podcasts, blogs, to campaigns and innovative education projects – that Jo felt it was important to set up this online info hub so that others can benefit too.

In this short presentation at the AERO conference in 2021, Jo introduces her website and how it came about. She now has ambitions for Progressive Education to be an impactful social enterprise to support and excel the movement for change.