answers to FAQs


Hopefully you will find the answers to your questions here, but if not, please do get in touch. 

We offer full or half-days of learning because experience has taught us that children really value the community that is built around spending time together in a shared endeavour. So, we don’t offer single classes. 

Yes, absolutely. We decide together which group will be the best fit for the student and for the community. We have children that join before the age of 7 because they feel ready to. We also have children who move up from the younger group to the older group before they turn 11 or who take their time and move up later. We can also facilitate a transition period where students attend some classes with the younger group and some with the older. 

We do not carry out formal assessments. Detailed individual reports are sent at the end of each term. These reflect on the student’s learning journey in a way which is concurrent with the student’s own objectives. 

Students create a portfolio of their work online which they can take with them when they leave the community.  

We use a secure, password protected, online learning platform. We only allow our students to access the classrooms. We also have a robust behaviour policy which can be viewed here.

Yes, we currently offer 7 IGCSEs. You can find out more information here 

Absolutely not. The teachers are available face-to-face on screen for 100% of the day. However, students spend a lot of time drawing, writing, reading, painting and creating. All of this can be done off screen. We welcome handwritten assignments which can be photographed and sent to the teachers. 

Having cameras switched on facilitates connection, communication and friendships. We understand this can be challenging for some students and that it may take them some time to work towards this. Our expectation is that, after taking time to settle into the community,  students will be on camera for most of the time. We encourage everyone to use the “hide self-view” feature on zoom to help avoid feeling self-conscious. 

We would expect children to have basic reading and writing skills when they join us so that they can join in successfully with our full curriculum. That’s why our recommended minimum age is 7 years old. Children who are not yet literate, might benefit from some of our classes – eg. Creative Art, Performance Arts, Science and Photography, but their application and choice of days needs to be discussed on an individual basis.

Parents can also support their children’s literacy learning at home by directly helping them during the classes.

All of our teachers are experienced at preparing students for GCSEs (UK exams taken at 16yrs) or the international equivalent and ensure that the learning will be a good preparation for future success. 

Our classrooms are non-coercive. We believe that children thrive in a learning environment where they choose to engage with the learning. 

Students can choose the number of days a week that they attend. So, they generally are happy to engage on the days they spend with us and look forward to them. We believe that students engage more fully with learning when they themselves chose to engage with it. Our baseline around student engagement is that ‘no student should interfere with another’s learning’. 

Submitting classwork is optional. The teachers are always happy to receive classwork and to give feedback on it. However, we find that for some children, not submitting work for a period of time helps give them more freedom to be creative, to make mistakes, and to find their own voice. 

In the 11-14 years group the teachers will provide homework and suggestions for further study. These can be tailored to each student’s individual needs and interests. All homework is optional. If needed, an agreement about homework can be drawn up between the student, their mentor and the student’s family.

Our learning management system makes it easy for students and parents to see what homework has been given along with resources for further study. 

We don’t give homework to the children in the younger group although there are often plenty of projects that they can continue in their own time. 

Students need a medium/good level of English to be able to participate fully in the community. If English is a second language, learning with us will enable student’s English speaking, reading and writing skills to develop fully.  

An A4 printer (black and white is fine). Pens, pencils, plain and lined paper, paints, eraser, pencil sharpener, ruler. A yoga mat is helpful but not essential. Students that study Literature will also need to buy the book that is chosen together.  

Students can be provided with a certificate of studies at the end of their time with us. 

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans young people, like all young people, are more likely to feel safe, happy and fulfil their potential if they:

• Feel able to be themselves and valued for who they are

• Feel included and part of the learning community

• Have access to resources and information relevant to them

• Feel they have people to talk to and know how to access support services

We actively support our LGBTQ+ students by creating an inclusive, understanding atmosphere. Teachers are approachable and friendly and make time to talk to students.

The Learning Circle is run by the Mindful Learning Project which is registered with Ofsted as a childcare provider. 

Please see below for more about us and our history.

Hebden Bridge learning community

We founded this small, democratic learning community in West Yorkshire, UK in 2016 and it continues to thrive. HBLC combines student choice, mindfulness, small groups, great teachers and topic-based learning. In 2020 we took our community online during the Covid-19 pandemic and we were amazed by how well it worked! Our students asked us to continue facilitating online learning as an option and so The Learning Circle was born. 


Meet anil & zoe

Anil and Zoe founded Hebden Bridge Learning Community in 2016 out of a shared love for learning, teaching, children, nature, yoga and meditation.

Anil has previously been a Spanish and Italian teacher, yoga and meditation instructor and shiatsu therapist. He has been involved in international educational projects for more than 20 years and has launched and directed two languages schools in Spain and in the UK. He speaks five languages and is the father of two grown-up children.

Zoe has previously been the Principal of a College that teaches alternative therapy. She has worked internationally as an alternative therapist, ran women’s groups, speaks 3 languages, and is the mother of a beautiful young boy. 

our purpose

We understand TLC to be a living system. We listen to where it needs to go and help it to do its work in the world. TLC has a purpose which will evolve over time. This is our purpose at the present moment:

To make a positive contribution to the wellbeing of society and the planet by enabling children to: 

  • be active learners
  • have a sense of agency and responsibility
  • be comfortable in their bodies
  • be collaborative
  • be connected with their inner resources
  • be connected with the world and have an understanding of Interbeing

Interbeing means to inter-dependently co-exist. The meaning of interbeing recognises the dependence of any one person or thing on all other people and objects.

Not only is no person an island, but rather our Interbeing is shared with all living things.
Interbeing is non-separation from the plants and animals we eat, the insects that pollinate the trees that yield our fruit, and the trees that shade us from the sun and provide timber for our homes. Interbeing is the people who make our clothes and food, the people who live with us in towns, in our countries and all of this extraordinary planet we call home.

* subject to change as we all grow together

find out more

Come along to an online open day

keep in touch

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