Macedon Ranges parents will soon have an another alternative to government and Catholic education, with a Gisborne school planning to offer an International Baccalaureate program within 18 months.
Gisborne Montessori School already provides primary school tuition from its Barringo Road site founded on the principles of giving children individualised support and freedom within limits. The school hopes to offer an internationally recognised middle- years program from 2017. The new secondary school will add another flavour to the area’s educational mix.
As reported by Star Weekly in May, a new secondary school with a specialised arts stream is due to open at the former Macedon Grammar site next year.
The Alice Miller School, named after a Swiss psychotherapist, will be a sibling school to Candlebark, near Romsey, which is owned by author and alternative education pioneer John Marsden. He bought the 32-hectare site in February. Macedon Grammar closed in December last year with debts of more than $1.2 million.
Gisborne Montessori principal Dianne Davis said the school had noticed an increasing need for secondary education catering for students who required a smaller, flexible environment with mentoring and individualised programs.
She said smaller student-to-teacher ratios would support the academic strengths and weaknesses of each pupil and provide a good environment for children, including some who might have been bullied.
‘‘Familiar, well-known teachers, a small school population and cosy grounds are less overwhelming and threatening to students who may have less confidence,’’ Ms Davis said.
Gisborne Montessori plans to have a maximum of 20 students in each secondary year level, eventually leading to about 100 children.
Entry will be by interview only. Up to two scholarships will be available each year based on financial need.
An information night will be held at the school from 7pm on August 6.