Meet the school with no classes, no classrooms and no curriculum
“We get around 70 requests a week from all over the world from people wanting to come and see what we do here” says Rob Houben, manager of the Agora school in Roermond, Netherlands, and the closest thing school has to a principal or headteacher. “And I turn most of them down, I just don’t have the time to do all that!”
It’s clear such interest is a testament to Agora’s unconventional approach, which is why I’m glad to be here. I first met Rob at Bett 2019, when he wandered onto pi-top’s stand, and we quickly struck up a rapport. If pi-top designed a school, it would be this. It’s amazing not because it’s awash with cash and has state of the art facilities, but because their entire approach is centred around projects. This is a school focused on learning, not teaching.
“We give children the opportunity to play, because when children are playing with something they get interested. And then you don’t have to teach, and you don’t have to police them either” says Rob.
No year groups
Students at Agora range from 12 to 18 (though there are no year groups) and each of them is given control over their own educational journey. They are able to explore and learn about topics and things which interest them.
I met students exploring subjects as diverse as German mountain guides, Mongolian horses, blacksmithing, Harry Potter patronuses, tables and skateboards. It is the job of the teacher – who here is called a coach – to challenge and guide that exploration process.
INTRUDER! Using code, pi-top  and LEGO in your club or classroom
pi-top  was specifically designed to use with construction products people are familiar with such as LEGO
The staff, who are responsible for around 17 students each, also have to ensure there are tangible results and genuine development, as well as work with each student on ways to continue developing the learning journey. Though brilliant for kids you can see why one of the biggest issues facing Rob has…