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No Safe Spaces At This School, Just Knives And Fire



  • A new form of education is emerging and it's all about knives, guns, and fire.
  • Mike Fairclough is teaching his students to handle guns, knives, and cook and craft with fire.
  • He believes that teaching children how to handle danger, instead of protecting them from it is the best form of education.
  • He just might be on to something, because his school is now in the top 5% of school statistics nationwide.

In a world where “safe spaces” and “trigger phrases” are put into place to cushion the feelings of children, we need more schools like the one headed up by Mike Fairclough. He is the headteacher at the school and he believes giving children a “well rounded” education is the way to prepare them for the rest of their lives.

The school teaches the children how to handle sharp knives, saws, and air rifles. They also learn to cook food, smelt metal over open flames, and how to skin and bone rabbits.

You're probably already thinking “sign me up,” because I know I am.

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Mike Fairclough believes that parents, and schools, are failing the children of today. He believes that instead of trying to protect a child from anything that might cause them harm we should be teaching them how to handle danger. Not only does his school teach children how to handle things that might harm them but also how to handle animals as well. The school has rented 120 acres of marshland to keep a herd of water buffalo, chickens, beehives, goats, and sheep.

Fairclough says, “The reality is that every school can take risks and engage in ‘dangerous’ activities, in the same way, that I have done so at my school for years. No one is stopping them. The government, Ofsted and the Health and Safety Executive would all love to see schools embracing danger in a responsible way.”

Not only has Fairclough changed the way people are thinking of schools, he has also proved that it works. Now West Rise Junior is in the top 5% for school statistics nationwide. It is also the top school in Eastbourne for reading, writing, math, punctuation, and grammar.

Fairclough isn't just going after the school systems, he's also going after the parents. He believes that parents are doing an injustice to their children by giving them labels for their behavioural problems (such as ADHD) instead of trying to tackle the problems. Fairclough says, “They see something on television about a new disorder, fill in an internet questionnaire and hey presto, the child has a label. Of course, there are children with special needs, but in many cases, it’s just a result of poor parenting.”

Even the general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers Russell Hobby agrees with Fairclough. Hobby said, “There are obvious risks in allowing opportunities for reckless behaviour and there are more subtle risks in limiting opportunities for adventure and challenge. School leaders steer a difficult course between the two and, inevitably, people will find fault from one direction or another. If we trusted school leaders more and threatened them less, they would be able to exercise this judgment more confidently.”

Maybe having all our schools be little wool blankets of security isn't the right way to go. Instead of teaching our children to be sensitive to the point of bruising like an old fruit, maybe we should be teaching them how to handle the world.

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