Event Title:

How to Set Up a School: Live Q&A with Maz Wilberforce & Tomlin Wilding

Event Type:



If you've ever been inspired to set up your own school, to create something outside of the conventional, authoritarian education system, this is the second in our webinar series that gives you a chance to ask experts who have been there and done it!


Come and meet Maz Wilberforce and Tomlin Wilding, who are launching the Hawthorn Small School, a new alternative to mainstream schooling which they hope will open in September 2024 in the New Forest area of Hampshire.


Their mission is to create sustainable progressive, human scale education that nurtures and develops students; facilitating personalised learning as a foundation for lifelong learning. They say:

“Every part of Hawthorn Small School is considered and purposeful. We live our values and guiding principles and use these to make the decisions that govern how we run the school, the organisation, the team and how we show up everyday.”


• Human scale community-structured education;

• Child-centred personalised learning pathways;

• Consent-based and self directed learning;

• Courageous growth through imperfection;

• Consistently compassionate care;

• Educator facilitated collaborative exploration;

• Knowledge in context; connected to the diverse nature of self, human interaction and our world;

• Nurturing lifelong curiosity.


Their offering includes:


A flexible, part-time education and learning pod that supplements home education, for students from 5 to 15 years. Open for admission for September 2023.


Play-based, child-centred introduction to the learning community from 5 to 10 years, using a cross curricular, personalised project based, primary curriculum.


Collaborative, consent-based, and professionally facilitated learning from 11 to 16 years, using a cross curricular, personalised project based secondary curriculum.

Hawthorn Small School focuses on providing students with the skills to be successful in their aspirations.


About Our Experts

Prior to setting up the Hawthorn Small School, Maz was the headteacher of the New Forest Small School, a ‘human-scale’ independent school for children aged 3 to 16.

Tomlin is a neurodivergent children’s rights activist, educator and academic researcher in neuropsychology and human development. They are the founder of CalmFamily, which is a collaborative learning organisation that provides a cascade of education to parents and professionals with the aim of changing society through supporting calmer relationships with children.


About the Webinar

The session will be an open Q&A with a chance to create some next steps if you want to take your school start-up idea further. You will be provided with a worksheet in advance to take notes and a chance to share your thoughts and next steps at the end of the session (if you want to). Register at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/how-to-set-up-a-school-live-qa-with-maz-wilberforce-tomlin-wilding-registration-713542122697?aff=oddtdtcreator

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