Parenting News: Uncommon Education Comes To London


Parenting News: Uncommon Education Comes To London

By Donovan Grant

My son and I attended the recent opening of a new Saturday school in Croydon, South London. The school has the interesting title “Uncommon Education.”

The title struck a chord in me because the word uncommon does get the mind boggling – different, curious, abnormal (above normal).

The founder of the school Alison Johnson had this vision to share with us “Our school aims to provide an environment that fosters high self esteem and provides a holistic teaching and learning experience.” This motto got me excited because this is so on target with our vision for what today’s young people need to succeed. Just imagine for a moment… if we can help the child in their whole life rather than just their academic studies, surely this will develop an all round successful and confident child.

It was real fun to join in the fun on this launch day! The best part was meeting the interesting and likeminded people that had assembled for a couple of hours. Teachers, Nurses, Counsellors and just mums and dads all focused on the same important mission – the development of the child. The warm feeling and buzz in the school was enough to remind us all that there is power in unity.

Girls in trouble?

We met a 25 year old young lady who had graduated from university and was creating her own business in teaching and personal development. Her area of focus was raising the aspirations and results of girls and young ladies.

“Donovan, while everyone has been focused on boys underachieving and falling behind; the girls have been neglected. It’s important that we focus on the girls too!” What a powerful statement! In fact, I think she has found some uncommon thinking here too. Have you ever thought about girls being left out? The thing is– I’ve got two daughters under 23 and this topic is a major concern for me too!

Do you have daughters? Do you think girls are being neglected by the – let’s help the boys out way of thinking?

Are you involved?

I don’t know about you, but my belief is that girls need our time and commitment too. Speaking from a father’s perspective the one thing that I find absolutely essential is a simple yet common theme and that is to be involved! Let’s face it, we are not able to predict the future; however a lack of involvement in the growing up of your daughter is likely to have undesired results. You may think the challenges of being a 21st century parent are scary, but without a doubt the cost of not being actively involved are even scarier.

Just imagine you were an artist moulding and crafting a statue in cement. You work hard to make all the tweaks and changes before the cement sets because once the cement sets, it’s too late to make the same impact. The same is true for raising our daughters, we only have a brief time to help mould their lives, and then it is too late. And of course if we don’t help them, they will find help and influence from elsewhere outside the home. You and I both know that most of these may well carry a huge cost.

Can you help a daughter out?

Here are four nuggets that have helped me to be a great father to my daughters:

#1 Be a father who is there

Being a father in the home is not enough. It is important that we are a father who is involved in what our daughters’ wants, needs and does. Let’s give new meaning to the term “being there”.

#2 Be a father who understands

One of the things I’ve found with my daughters is that we are going to disagree quite often. Now when this happens we have a choice. Do we adopt the “I’m the boss in this house stance” or do we accept the difference with understanding. The thing is sometimes, your daughter is going to learn a lesson in life the hard way, you can’t always be there to protect there. So, let understanding be part of your tool box too.

#3 Be a father who honours his wife

the value of having an openly affectionate and positive relationship with our wives as being equally important in raising daughters.

#4 Be a father who believes in his daughter

When others are doubting or not trusting your daughter, be the rock that she can turn to. Just having that solid foundation available will be enough for her to keep moving forward.

From one father to you, please remember that the father-daughter relationship is a key to a future happy woman's heart. All fathers, or potential fathers, should realise what a weighty responsibility we have for these young lives, and just how much we are needed to help mould them in a empowering way.

The takeaway: Let’s focus on our daughters too!

What do you think? What have you learned through your experience of raising daughters for success? Leave your questions and comments in the box below – we love hearing from you.


Remember to Connect with Alison and find out more about the Uncommon Education Saturday school by clicking here

Donovan Grant is a coach, mentor, blogger, speaker and IT professional who brings his wisdom of parenting for the last 21 years and coaching clients through the stages of raising youth and empowering leaders with life lessons that are changing generations.  He is a passionate and committed leader who believes that we all have the ability to help to change someone else’s life. Actively doing so as a catalyst for many years he teaches how to live a life of success, balance, integrity and fun, whether at work or at play.

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  • Ali2sonj

    Thank you Donovan for firstly attending the launch and being a supporter of the vision. It is critically important that dads do seek to engage with their daughters. This ultimately shapes their views on what they think of men in the long run.
    The school believes in holistic support for each student and also to engage positively with the parent. As the school progresses we will be adding family learning days to the ‘menu’ to promote inclusive learning opportunities.

  • Four gold nuggets Donovan. Alison Johnson has a great vision for the next generation. I hope this vision will spread.

  • Amazing article Donovan, you are such a talented coach! Love your sugestions, especially  about this: “…remember
    that the father-daughter relationship is a key to a future happy
    woman’s heart. All fathers, or potential fathers, should realise what a
    weighty responsibility we have for these young lives, and just how much
    we are needed to help mould them in a empowering way.” I had such a damaging relationship with my father it took me years to shake all the negativity off and re-program my mind …