A whole human approach to education

Human scale education

Size matters

Hawthorn Learning is a small, human-scale, specialist learning setting for students with special needs who are unable to attend school full-time, or who need supporting in their home education.

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

Our learning pod

Community structured learning

from a Community Interest Company

Berry pod

A part-time education and learning pod that supplements home education, or works alongside schools, for students from 12 to 17 years. Open for admission for September 2023.

Seed pod

A part-time education and learning pod that supplements home education, or works alongside schools, for students from 8 to 12 years. Open for admission for January 2024.

A developing project

We hope this pilot project will allow the development of more learning community pods in the future.

"There can be no keener revelation of a society's soul than the way in which it treats its children"

Nelson Mandela

Progressive education

Our approach to education is truly human

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

Whole human approach

We actively consider every aspect of being human in our approach to running the pod. This means making all five areas of human regulation a priority in the design of the environment, the curriculum, the day, and in the hearts of the whole team.

Trans-disciplinary curriculum

In each learning cycle students will be engaged in trans-disciplinary projects that span our curriculum,  encompassing the usual subjects and more to build knowledge and skills through genuine curiosity and interest.

Natural human-scale environment

The pod site will be designed around the natural needs of human beings. Nurturing, comfortable and naturally regulating spaces on a human scale that inspire curiosity are woven through the environment

Autonomous learning time

Students have ultimate autonomy over their learning with both autonomous learning time and completely self-directed time. The Hawthorn team provide opportunities at every turn and then facilitate deep exploration.

We are part of the family.
All the way through.

When you join the Hawthorn Learning pod, you become part of the village. It isn’t just the student that joins, it is as a whole family. We work together as a community to build human relationships that nurture and last.

What people say about us


Feel like you don't fit?

We actively include people who often feel out of place

School refusal and anxiety

We are an ideal setting for students who have struggled with their mental health in a mainstream setting.

Autism and ADHD

We celebrate neurodiversity and specialise in meeting the needs of neurodivergent students whether officially diagnosed or not.

Learning and sensory differences

In a whole human approach to education, cognitive, learning and sensory needs and differences are considered in detail for every student.

Passionate about progressive education and neuropsychology

News and ideas

Student work

Heat transfer experiment

I experimented putting different materials on the heat sensitive paper to see how they would react and what transferred the heat best

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Impromptu application

Maz and I (Tomlin) were surprised and delighted to receive an email from one of our students, who noticed that we have been so busy that we haven’t been able to post on social media as much as we would like to get the word out about our learning pod. He has a great deal of experience with social media and is keen to help.

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Student work

The Puppet-Master by Josh

The Puppet-Master was a strange fellow, unusually quiet unless performing. He was brought up by his mother and father in the great land of Elswear, his Parents owned a puppet show in the middle of a small village called Afterand. The shows were loved by all kids on Elswear, people would travel across the Island to see their shows. However, as the people of their hometown grew older, they

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If you are considering Hawthorn Learning pod please get in contact with us so that we can chat about your families’ needs and what we offer.

Enquire here