Top schools for alternative education

It’s well-known that some conventional routes into education just aren’t right for everyone. If you’ve mostly enjoyed marching to the beat of your own drum rather than toeing the conventional lines, you might find yourself looking for alternative pathways to further and higher education.  

Whether you consider yourself alternative or arty, alternative education might be for you! There are so many inspiring unorthodox education opportunities across the world that offer the chance to expand your horizons in a unique and creative way. 

To help you out, we’ve put together a list of some of the best one-of-a-kind education institutions out there – ourselves included! 

1. Clay College, Stoke  

Clay College is dedicated to protecting and upholding the status of British studio ceramics, offering a skills-based course taught by professional potters – something unique in the UK. After recognising that higher education was focusing more on concept and design than practical creation, the founders set up the college to ensure generations of pottery skills and wisdom were not lost.  

Students study here for 2 years to hone their skills to international standards, learning everything from practical design right through to publicity and marketing.  

2. Leith School of Art, Edinburgh  

With an emphasis on nurturing students, whether they’re beginners or already practising artists, Leith School of Art promotes the creation of an artistic community for their students. As an independent school, they have freedom in how to deliver their teaching and they believe that art has a role to play in improving everyone as individuals. 

Working on a small scale in Edinburgh, they focus on making art accessible and give each student the time and attention to grow their artistic abilities.  

3. MADE Labs, Sicily  

An offshoot of the “Rosario Gagliardi” Academy of Fine Arts in Sicily, MADE Labs offers students a series of workshops and lectures over a 12-day course designed to give designers, architects and artists an insight into the cutting-edge developments in their fields. Boundary-breaking tutors and creative professionals encourage students to defy the norm and be provocative with their projects.  

4. The International Youth Initiative Program (YIP), Sweden  

Based in Sweden with outposts in Scotland and worldwide, YIP is a unique program dedicated to enabling young people to explore the issues facing mankind and society in today’s world. At YIP, young people are supported to become the leaders of a sustainable future, expanding their global and personal outlooks along the way.  

Students are encouraged to work toward their own self-defined set of aims rather than a strict curriculum, and the course is designed to let students self-direct their learning while living and working together in a welcoming community. 

5. Chippendale School, East Lothian 

At the Chippendale School, we know that conventional education isn’t the only way to create a career that you love. Our school was established by founder and former principal, Anselm Fraser in 1985, loved by all for his unconventional ways and unorthodox teaching practices! 

Our hands-on intensive 9-month-long Professional Course provides students with the knowledge and skills to make a living through woodworking, ensuring that, once you leave us, you have all the tools to make a practical career out of your creative passion. A vital part of ensuring our students’ success is the nurturing community environment that welcomes people from all backgrounds and life stages. 

If your imagination has been captured by some these hidden educational gems, why not delve further into researching alternative schools and explore your options?  

Of course, we’d recommend the Chippendale International School of Furniture for anyone that’s looking to kickstart a rewarding adventure in woodworking and furniture design.  

But for those seeking to kindle passions for other creative arts and alternative subjects, broaden your horizons beyond the conventional by researching off-grid schools and programs like these. If university isn’t for you, don’t despair – take a look and see what’s out there to make your heart sing! 

Thinking about pursuing a furniture making career? Discover more about our Professional coursedownload a prospectus, or get in touch with a helpful member of our team. 

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