Enrolment for a unique new Brisbane school could open as soon as September.
Enrolment for a unique new Brisbane school could open as soon as September.

Parents drawn to new alternative school

ENROLMENTS could open as soon as September for a new school offering Brisbane parents an alternative to mainstream education.

Toowoomba's Maridahdi School is in negotiations to lease a small site on Tingal Rd, Wynnum that would have space for 30 students.

The unique school is seeking accreditation through the Non-State Schools Accreditation Board and if all goes to plan - Maridahdi will open its doors on January 27.

The school would initially only be able to offer 15 places.

Maridahdi founder and principal Louis Bradfield met with more than 60 parents last night at Wynnum Library to share the school's ethos that puts children in the "driver's seat of their own learning".

Maridahdi School principal Louis Bradfield. Picture: Danielle Buckley
Maridahdi School principal Louis Bradfield. Picture: Danielle Buckley

He said that while the school followed the national curriculum, it had a strong emphasis on play and with "no rankings or ratings".

There are no strict class times, students don't wear a uniform and are free to work alongside students in different year levels and classes freely.

Birkdale parent Natalie Gearing, who attended the meeting, home schools her three children aged two, four and six.

She hopes to enrol her two eldest next year.

Ms Gearing said there were few alternative options for parents in the bayside and the tailored culture of learning at Maridahdi appealed to her.

"In schools we talk about delivering the curriculum - Maridahdi doesn't talk about delivering the curriculum," she said.

"It talks about reshaping curriculum so that instead of matching the child to the curriculum we're talking about matching the curriculum to the child."

Mr Bradfield previously faced an uphill battle when he sought to expand the school to a second site at Toowoomba in 2009.

The 2009 development application was initially recommended for approval by Toowoomba Regional Council’s planning department, but councillors voted against that recommendation.
The 2009 development application was initially recommended for approval by Toowoomba Regional Council’s planning department, but councillors voted against that recommendation.

In 2012, the Planning and Environment Court ruled in favour of Toowoomba Regional Council's refusal of its development application.

Subsequent plans to expand the school to Flagstone Creek in 2012 never went ahead.

Mr Bradfield said while he was challenging the system he does not want to "take over an education system".

"I'm just wanting to offer choice. I think that is what's exciting about Brisbane," he said.

"In Brisbane there's Steiner, there's Montessori, there's an independent school, there's a lot of choice.

"So we hope in that process people are consciously choosing a school that works for them and that aligns with their thinking."

Mr Bradfield also hoped to open a high school in Brisbane - but said the challenge would be to find a suitable site.

"While Independent Schools Queensland have been incredibly supportive of us, the challenge has been to find suitably zoned sites," he said.

"If we could find them, Ipswich would be up and running, Brisbane would be up and running, (and the) Gold Coast."

If the Wynnum site is secured, applications are expected to open in September for the school and there is a five-stage enrolment process.



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