Most families and children involved in Montessori primary and pre-schools fall in love with the academic freedom that is facilitated by an emphasis on discovery and child-centric learning. There are around 700 early years and primary institutions in the UK, a number that is growing as Montessori gains in popularity. But what of secondary school? Is there such a thing as Montessori for teens?
In fact…there is! Currently, there is only one official AMI accredited Montessori secondary school in the UK but hopefully it’s the start of what will be a movement to sweep the country.
The Montessori Place was dreamed up by directors Rob and Paul when they were working at the Maria Montessori Institute (MMI) in London, the UK’s main Montessori training centre. Alongside their day to day work with children in their respective ‘Children’s Houses’, they were both heavily involved in developing a vision for the MMI in 2020.
Once the strategic plan was written, Rob Gueterbock and Paul Pillai decided to take it forward. They started to build a small team of committed Montessorians, to create a place that offered ‘The full Monty’ for children and their families in the first 12 years of life. From this foundation they then hoped to offer similar services up to age 18.
In 2017, The Montessori Place opened its doors to adolescents who are taught (or rather, guided) Montessori style. What does this look like? Well, there are no year groups, no subject departments, no timetables and no assessments. There are also no teachers in the traditional sense: adults are “guides”, mentors who meet with students weekly or fortnightly to review their work and set a programme of learning. Students study in mixed age groups, learning from each other and working on topics that interest them.
Talking to the Guardian about the new school, Paul Pillai articulates that Students will take GCSEs in English and maths with the option to take science and other subjects by request, but qualifications aren’t the main focus. “There is a point at which a qualification is valuable and that’s A-level,” says Pillai. “Before that, we just want to feed a passion. There’s a joy to studying a subject without curriculum constraints.”
The overall aim of the school is aid a child’s natural development from birth to maturity. Montessori methodology is an organic process that is a relief for many parents with concerns about the rigorous testing and associated stresses that come along with ‘regular’ schooling. If you’re interested in pursuing Montessori learning beyond primary school, it might be worth getting in touch with the team at The Montessori Place – the website is; be sure to have a look. And so contact us at St Andrew’s Montessori for queries relating to Montessori in the early years.