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Page last updated at 09:24 GMT, Friday, 21 August 2009 10:24 UK
Getting into uni after no exams

Classroom scene at The Acorn School
Graeme and Sarah Whiting founded the school nearly 28 years ago.

The Acorn School in Nailsworth is believed to be the only school in Britain where those who want to apply to university do so without any exam grades.

Universities instead look at work submitted by the students and make their decision based on that as well as how they perform in an interview.

"None of our students take any exams", said Sarah Whiting who founded the school with her husband, Graeme, in 1991.

"We've had no failures on entry into university and we've had 60 children into universities in 15 years.

"Obviously the university has to look at each student so on the UCAS form they fill in a B route because they have no grades to do with conventional exams."

When Graeme Whiting founded the school he wanted to achieve what he sees as the right balance between academic, practical and musical studies.

"I'm against state examinations for young people," said Graeme. "I'm not against degrees and university and so on but I think with state exams there is too much pressure.

"I'm actually opposed to children being put into the arena of competition.

"I feel they should be allowed to develop individually and to put up the skills they want to develop."

Moral integrity

Graeme is keen to develop a moral integrity which may be seen as old fashioned but he believes these morals are vital in the successful preparation of young people for their future lives.

The school has a zero tolerance policy for smoking, any form of illegal drugs and any use of underage alcohol.

There are just over 100 students at the school and television, computers and electronic games are not part of the education on offer.

Parents are also encouraged to play an active role in the life of the school and forge a strong bond with their child's teacher.

Graeme started the school with only four pupils in the conservatory of his home.

Today pupils from as far afield as Japan, Korea, America and Israel attend the school in Stroud which has never advertised in its 18 year history.




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