Tatler Schools Guide 2021: School’s Out (of the Classroom) Forever

On a bamboo campus, aboard a sailing ship or just ‘on the move’, students can benefit from alternative learning environments, where academic qualifications come with immersive thrills all around the world.



On the deck of a large sailing ship crossing the Atlantic Ocean, tackling eco-projects deep in the Balinese jungle or exploring the world with a cohort of fellow teens. This isn’t school as we know it, but it is for some lucky pupils. Advances in technology, an increasing desire to educate children as global citizens, and an acceptance that exam-assessed learning isn’t suited to all means some-parents are seeking alternative schooling options. Luckily, a number of educational change-makers are meeting this need, creating-international schools that are moving away from classroom teaching and rote learning. Pupils are assessed on projects they’ve chosen to study, on subjects that capture their enthusiasm and which they feel are relevant to their future by teaching them research skills, leadership and resilience. A top education that caters to a thirst for open skies and global connections is now available.


In the heart of the Balinese jungle lies a bamboo cathedral dedicated to learning, fun and gold-standard sustainability. Everything on site is recycled, upcycled or made from the earth. Green School children are ecologically bilingual; saving the planet is as natural to them as learning to walk. With three core values dictating the curriculum – be local, let the environment lead, and think of your grandchildren’s future – Green School Bali, and its equally stunning sister school in New Zealand, are a lifestyle choice for the whole family. There’s no boarding on offer, so families need to relocate, recalibrate values and wholeheartedly embrace this change of life focus. As parents enthuse: ‘The wide range of subjects offered, the interaction between the grades, the mix of ages on campus from kindergarten through to seniors, the blend of international culture with up to 40 different nationalities all provides a rich background for learning and social interaction.’ In Bali, parents gather at the co-working space The Bridge; everyone enjoys the fortnightly farmers markets and the school run is on the popular Bio Bus’, which is fuelled with used cooking oil that the student ‘Grease Police’ collect weekly from restaurants and hotels. Green School NZ has renovated a hay barn as a workspace for parents, inviting them to be on-site all day. Post-Covid, it’s seen an upsurge in families desiring an education for their children far from the madding crowd, which Head Chris Edwards is certainly able to offer on New Zealand’s North Island.

Everything on site is recycled, upcycled or made from the earth. Green School pupils are ecologically bilingual; saving the planet is as natural to them as learning to walk.

BIO AND GRADABLE – From left, sustainability dictates the curriculum at the pioneering Green Schools in Bali and New Zealand

‘It’s probably the  most remote place in the developed world. he says. ‘But it is absolutely stunning. with a river running through it, a mountain on one side, the ocean on the other and the school embarking on the largest private rewilding project in NZ. Educationally, Green School eschews traditional exam-assessed rote learning and sets out to embrace children’s creativity, firing up their imaginations, nurturing the desire to explore and teaching students the rudiments almost by osmosis. Embracing the local community is the beating heart of Green School. In New Zealand, studying indigenous cultures and speaking Mãori provides wisdom and skills. At Green School Bali, where fees for Years 9-12 are £15,500 per per annumn, 42 local scholars are on 100 percent bursaries, and a thriving after-school programme sees 500 Balinese pupils learning English. With Green Schools opening soon in Tulum, Mexico and Paarl, South Africa, this school that aspires to be the future is fast becoming a much-needed fixture. Best for Pioneer families looking for a total litestyle change Worst for Conspicuous consumption.

School’s out (of the classroom) forever
Tatler Schools Guide 2021 Page 60-61 – By TORI CADOGAN