Frequently Asked Questions

Catchment area questions

What is the catchment area for the school?

Atelier 21 Future School has no defined catchment area, children attend from all across Sussex and Surrey as it is easily accessible from the Pease Pottage roundabout from the A264, M23 and A23. We currently have two mini bus services, our original service now runs from Storrington, through Broadbridge Heath and Horsham and we have introduced a new service which runs from Plumpton Green through Burgess Hill and up through Haywards Heath. As we are such a small community, some of our parents organise lift shares. We work collectively with our parents to meet their needs and will include additional pick-up points and further routes according to demand. Many children in Reception use the bus service. The children have the same bus driver each day and it is one of the highlights of the day waiting for the bus to arrive!

Why is the school based where it is?

The school’s location is set in a stunning manor house overlooking the tranquil lake of Pease Pottage’s Broadfield Park, convenient for the K2 sports centre, Tilgate Park and near its own private forest for Wild Friday Learning outdoors.

What is the behaviour of the children like at Atelier 21?

Overall behaviour at Atelier 21 is extremely good and it is handled as outlined in our behaviour policy which can be found here.

We have democratic systems in place where the children are involved in the decision making with regards to appropriate sanctions and consequences. The School Agreements Council meetings set the responsibilities for the children. Pupils then decide on class agreements and help to uphold them with each other. Pupils reflect on their behaviour and decide what changes they can make.

Does the school cater for children with specific learning difficulties?

Atelier 21 is a mainstream school with provision for a small number of pupils with mild Specific Learning difficulties such as ASD, dyslexia, dyspraxia or dyscalcula. For example, specialist one to one tuition and support is available which is charged in addition to the school fees.
Parents are encouraged to be open about their children’s needs from the outset and the taster session is there to ensure that the school is the best fit for the child and their family.

Safety questions

What is the security procedure on the school grounds?

The children are accompanied by teachers on the school grounds who can radio back to the school as required.

How do specialist teachers teach across bubbles?

Atelier 21 is fortunate in that due to its current size (50 pupils), the whole school forms one bubble, as it is below the average UK size of one year group. When the school grows in September this will be reviewed in line with the government guidelines at the time.

Is the Reception class outdoor space shared with other year groups?

On the whole the outside veranda space is used by the Reception children, although Class 1 sometimes access it too. Class 1 and Class 2 have their own playground, climbing frames and other equipment too.

Curriculum questions

Can parents see examples of learning online?

Yes they can. We use the software ‘Evidence Me’ so that parents can see some of their children’s work. This is not just reserved for the Early Years, we do the same for the older year groups, as children are not always vocal or can be too tired at the end of a day to share what they have done at home.

Do you follow the National Curriculum?

Atelier 21 is an academic school in which our curriculum is mostly based on the National Curriculum. The children learn National Curriculum content but not the same way as they might in other schools. The difference is that our learner centred approach is more engaging and achieves more successful outcomes all round. The pupils also learn 21st Century skills and develop their own interests and passions through self-directed and project-based learning. When the time comes, we train pupils for exams as they too are a part of the education process.

Atelier 21 is a progressive school fit for children’s futures. We are intentionally different as we know the Reggio Emilia inspired enquiry-based learning enhances children’s overall performance at school – as does the strong pastoral care and nurturing of deeply curious social and motivated individuals. We also support our children’s well-being through teaching mindfulness, creativity and encouraging individual expression. The school will register for iGCSE courses from 2023 when the oldest pupils are ready to sit them.

How much homework do the children get?

There is little formal homework set. Pupils sometimes choose to continue their research for their project-based learning at home for Big Studies but overall we do not find that homework is particularly helpful with a child’s academic progression, and no published research supports the benefit of homework. Children are encouraged to read at home and in younger years do reading, spelling and time tables.

How do you ensure new staff follow the Reggio Emilia principles?

Staff are provided with training on the Reggio Emilia principles. Cognitive scientist and prolific education author Guy Claxton, creator of the Learning Power Approach, is a patron of the school and currently provides online CPD for teachers. Some staff have been using the approach for years having worked in the school’s nursery settings at Little Barn Owls, Hayley’s other education business.

Please can you explain the mistake of the week board and how it is used?

During the week children write down mistakes as they make them on a post it note and at the end of the week we celebrate what we have learned from them. It’s a great way to break down the fear of failure, and help pupils feel empowered by expecting mistakes as a normal and necessary process of making progress in life.

Do the children use digital technology/iPads?

Yes we live in a world where understanding and using technology is a necessary part of every-day life. The children use iPads and computers to help them to research topics and use a range of software to enhance learning. Also the children learn how to code on specific days when we have experts who come in to teach it. The children also use technology to create Digital Arts. The school uses light boxes, has its own green screen and lighting in its drama space and is currently developing a studio for recording music and podcasts, and launching Atelier’s own in-house radio station, run by the pupils.

Do the children have their own work books?

Yes, the children have exercise books – in Reception they have phonics books and then in Class 1 and 2 they have books for each subject including ‘Big Studies’.

Which phonics programme do you use?

We use the Read, Write Inc programme. It teaches phonics, reading and writing together intuitively and is a widely popular programme used by many schools.

What do you do for early readers/gifted and talented children?

As pupils learn in small groups we are able to tailor the learning according to the children’s abilities. This means that children requiring support can receive it and others can be challenged further academically and develop new skills in other areas. The teaching ratio is 1:10 as we have a maximum of 20 children with 2 teachers for each primary class. If required children can be moved up into an older class. They will certainly not get bored at Atelier 21

Do the children take assessments and tests?

At Year 9 the children begin to start to train in exam technique with a view to beginning iGCSE in Year 10. Until Year 9, children do not sit exams but are assessed through portfolio work and observations.

How do you manage the data to track and benchmark progress?

The school uses Evidence Me to track and monitor progress and teachers do regular observations. As the classes are so small the staff know the children and their abilities and can track their progress really well on a daily basis.

Financial Stability

The school is backed by its Head teacher, Hayley Peacock, supported by the success of her award-winning nursery chain, Little Barn Owls which won Nursery Group of the year in 2020 and has also won local business of the year awards.

The financial backing from the nurseries is a safety net so that the new school can grow organically over time with no rush to get children in all at once. Having said that, the school is already almost full for next year due to its innovative and unique approach and the nurseries’ reputation in the area.

The school currently has 50 pupils and will grow to 85 pupils in September with plans to grow to a maximum of 120 pupils within the next two years.


Fess: The current school fees can found here.

Mini Bus service – The bus currently costs £2.50 each way to Tesco at Broadbridge Heath, Horsham.

School uniform – only PE kit and hoodies are required which are sold at cost price. For example our polo shirts and jogging bottoms are £12 each.

Wrap around care – After school club runs to 5.30pm with last pick up at 6pm. It currently costs £10 per session. We currently do not have a breakfast club but if this is a requirement do let us know as staff are on site from 7.30am.

School dinners/pack lunches – School dinners are provided for within the school fees and are cooked fresh each day by our in-house chef, Marcin. The children are encouraged to eat a healthy balanced diet. Children who are vegetarian or vegan and those with food allergies are catered for.

Do you offer bursaries? The school currently does not offer bursaries as it is in its infancy but hopes to do so in the not too distant future.