WATCH: Ex-teacher starts new education business

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A teacher who resigned after more than 12 years at Berwick Academy is starting his own business to offer youngsters a new method of education.

Disillusioned with the state education system, Tim Roake is launching an alternative form of learning for ambitious young people in Berwick.

He is inviting them to The Polymath Society. Starting on September 1, three-hour sessions, costing £6 each, will be available four nights a week at Berwick Youth Hostel.

Mr Roake believes collaborative learning, in which adults and students of different ages solve problems together, can support their school work. He also wants his club to be fun and open-minded, giving individuals a chance to learn outwith the confines of a subject-based course.

“I feel that schools don’t educate young people,” he explained. “They focus on qualifications at the expense of education. It means when young people leave school they are not necessarily equipped to deal with issues that might arise in the real world.

“The education system is focussing fully on qualifications and target setting, to the detriment of young people, and therefore British society.

“It doesn’t allow them to develop their wider sense of self. This leads to a coercive system whereby students have to be managed rather than be allowed to flourish in an imaginative environment.”

Mr Roak, 54, taught economics, business and history at Berwick Academy, but resigned at the end of last term.

He previously worked in the financial markets in the City of London, trained as a pilot and studied ocean sciences at Plymouth University. “I have been described as a polymath, hence the name of the society,” he explained.

“The Polymath Society will focus on collaborative learning rather than teaching. Children will teach themselves, amongst themselves, with guidance from older students and educated adults with skills or qualifications.”

Mr Roake’s idea came from a class he taught at Berwick Academy last year.

“They wanted to do something else and the parents asked me to set something up so that they could learn in addition to their school work is.

“The idea is to support their school work – and their education.”

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