Alternative Methods to Mainstream Schooling in the UK

Alternative Options to Mainstream School in the UK

If you are looking for alternative options to mainstream school in the UK, you’re not alone. More and more families like yours are turning away from traditional schooling in favour of different methods of education for their kids. In this blog, we’ll take a brief look at some of the reasons behind this, and give you a breakdown of the main alternative schooling options that are on offer in the UK.

Why are some UK families turning to alternative education?

You may have seen the recent poll by the National Education Union (NEU). It worryingly revealed that more than a quarter of UK teachers planned to quit education by 2024. A major complaint was poor work-life balance for teaching staff. However, many teachers said they felt pupils were being overly assessed, and that school had become more about the grades rather than the kids themselves.

It seems like this dissatisfaction is shared by many parents and pupils, too, which could be one of the reasons for the shift towards different schooling methods. Another common grievance is that UK schools are less able to accommodate for pupils with special educational or extra support needs. This is likely due to ever-expanding class sizes, limiting one-to-one contact with teachers.

Perhaps you’re one of these families who are unhappy with the current state of UK schools? Or maybe you’d prefer an alternative education for your child for lifestyle or ideological reasons. In any case, the good news is there are plenty of options available! Read on for a detailed list of the different ways your child can be educated in the UK.

Alternative Options to Mainstream School in the UK

Alternative Independent Schools

There are a number of schools in the UK that offer a more holistic teaching method. Their main aim is to nurture every part of your child’s development. Not just intellectual, but creative, emotional, moral and spiritual.


In a typical Montessori school, you’ll find mixed age classrooms of children learning via concepts and natural materials. The Montessori-trained teachers encourage kids to interact with their environments, using their instincts to guide them in their learning.


Steiner (or Waldorf) education focuses on cultivating pupils’ imagination and creativity. The curriculum can vary a fair bit depending on the school and teachers, as they have a large say in what’s included. Generally, though, the Steiner method encourages its pupils to be well-rounded and creative free-thinkers.

Community schools

There are also a number of small community schools dotted around the country that don’t necessarily fall into any sort of teaching model or curriculum. These small local schools are usually based on values of democracy and fairness.

Home Education

Home education is totally legal in the UK, and is becoming an increasingly popular option among parents and kids. With home-ed, you as a parent would take the lead in teaching your child. This would include gathering learning resources and materials, and planning and delivering the curriculum of your choice.

Sound a bit overwhelming? Luckily, there’s a lot more support out there for home-ed parents nowadays. With the internet, it’s relatively easy to source textbooks and other learning materials. Social media also allows home-ed families to connect and share tips, as well as a way for your kids to make friends.

You can click here for more information on the benefits of home educating your child.

Online Schooling

If you are looking to home-educate your child but don’t feel equipped to do it all yourself, online schooling is a helpful option. It supports home-educating families in providing structure to your child’s school day at home for an affordable price.

Online school delivers a full-time education which follows the English national curriculum. This way, your child can keep up with what their peers are being taught at mainstream school. Fully trained and qualified teachers teach pupils in live online lessons, freeing up time for mum and dad to get on with their days! They also support them to take their iGCSE and A-Level exams when the time comes, giving them the chance to progress on to higher education.

If this has piqued your interest and you want to know more, have a look at our FAQs here.

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