Atelier 21 top

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 offer three different bus routes across Sussex and Surrey to enable families to access the school from near and far. Please contact for further information on how to book and costings.

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.

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

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. From Year 7 our pupils follow the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme an internationally recognised framework where the assessment objectives are aligned to the UK National Curriculum. This is also highly regarded by higher education across the globe.

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.

Studying post 16

For those students wishing to continue their IB experience into the diploma there are many independent schools in the local area that offer it. There are also state schools in Brighton who offer the IB diploma.

For those students wishing to pursue A Levels – we have made links with local sixth form and specialist colleges who recognise the Middle Years Programme as equivalent to GCSEs. Individual colleges have individual requirements and will need to be investigated upon application.

How much homework do the children get?

Primary children are regularly encouraged to practise reading, spelling and time tables on TT Rockstars at home.

Older years will have regular tasks to complete at home to support their projects and to make excellent progress as part of the International Baccalaureate.

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.

Why have we chosen to apply for the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme (MYP) rather than GCSEs?

We are a school centred around the learning experiences of our pupils and the Learning Power Approach and consequently we design our curriculum and our projects around authentic, relevant and child-driven objectives. As we have reflected and reviewed our practise, this would seem at odds with the content driven, memory and test-based model of GCSEs.

The mission statement from the IB states:



We feel that the MYP will allow our students to continue with cross-curricular Project-Based Learning as well as develop mastery skills in core subjects and complete their education at Atelier 21 with a recognised qualification in order to continue their learning at a Post-16 level. The Learning Power Approach that underpins our curriculum enables students to embrace challenge and self-regulate, meaning they aren’t immobilised by fear of failure or ‘getting the wrong answer’ in preparation for an exam. This means they have a healthy attitude going into MYP and will be naturally motivated as they understand that getting qualifications is part of the process of creating choices for our lives. They develop higher levels of critical evaluation technique through our project based and self-directed approach to learning, and are more resilient and creative in order to prepare themselves for the process of sitting exams.

Currently, we have made a successful application to the IBO and have been accepted in to the ‘candidacy phase’. In the meantime, we are adapting and developing our Key Stage 3 planning to reflect the content delivered at MYP level in line with the authorisation process. This is likely to take up to 18 months.

Atelier 21 is a Candidate School* for the MYP. This school is pursuing authorization as an IB World School. These are schools that share a common philosophy—a commitment to high quality, challenging, international education that Atelier 21 believes is important for our students.

*Only schools authorized by the IB Organization can offer any of its four academic programmes: the Primary Years Programme (PYP), the Middle Years Programme (MYP), the Diploma Programme, or the Career-related Programme (CP). Candidate status gives no guarantee that authorization will be granted. For further information about the IB and its programmes, visit

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

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 over 100 pupils and will grow to 125 pupils in September with plans to grow to a maximum of 165 pupils within the next two years.


Fess: The current school fees and Mini Bus service costs are available from the school office, Please contact

School uniform – only PE kit, Atelier 21 hoodies and coats are required and are available from our supplier Taylormade at

Wrap around care – this is available from 7.30am to 6pm. Please contact the school office for the current costings.

School dinners/pack lunches – School dinners are provided for within the school fees and are cooked fresh each day by our in-house chef, Sharon. 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 and scholarships? – Yes the school currently offers up to 50% off fees for means-tested bursaries and scholarships, as it is in its infancy but hopes to do so in the not too distant future.