How we have crafted a woodworking community

At the Chippendale School, we pride ourselves on our family values. The school building and workshop was even built on the site of the family home by founder and former principal Anselm Fraser, who has now passed down the role of principal to son Tom Fraser.  

Since we opened our doors in 1985, we have welcomed more than 500 students from over fifty countries around the world and now boast a global community of woodworkers. 

Our international student community is treated like an extended family, and we ensure we always provide a home away from home while they study with us. We remember each and every one of our students and keep in touch with former students to check in on life post-Chippendale and see how their businesses have been developing.   

One-on-one teaching 

Our small course sizes mean that we can provide excellent quality, one-on-one teaching. There are never more than 26 students on our Professional course, meaning you are guaranteed plenty of individual attention from tutors. 

The great thing about our small school is that there’s nowhere to hide – this enables our students to quickly form strong bonds with fellow learners and teachers. Many of our students come to us from outside of the UK, so we think it is especially vital that they make real connections with their peers while so far away from home.  

Students are encouraged to work both together and independently while taking this opportunity in their careers to learn from one another, their teachers and those graduates who have stayed on to grow their businesses on-site at our unique incubation hub, Myreside studios. 

Turning fellow students into friendships   

These friendships our students form have been vital in keeping them motivated during the recent lockdown period, during which they’ve been away from their families and the workshop under incredibly challenging circumstances. 

Preventing isolation has been a priority for us – we have worked hard to help students stay connected by using video calls, social media and chat groups. We’ve also organised fun social activities as well as engaging and creatively challenging learning opportunities, such as our recent CAD competition. 

Once our workshop is open again, we know that students will be overjoyed to get stuck back into projects that have been on pause for so long, not to mention catching up with one another in person. 

From teachers to family 

Our expert team of tutors and teaching experts cover a variety of traditional and modern skills and techniques. A few members of our team have even been with us for more than half their lives – they are truly part of the furniture as well as of the Chippendale family! 

Principal Tom Fraser grew up at the school and has known some of our staff his whole life. Our longest-serving staff members, Alan McGovern, Graham Davies and Clare Charleston, have been at the Chippendale School since they were apprentices, with Alan joining us at the start of our journey in 1985! Our tutors know the school and their craft inside out, sharing their expertise and knowledge with each student that passes through our doors.  

A welcoming community 

The school is well-known in the local community. Located near the village of Gifford in East Lothian, we have always had brilliant relationships with local landlords and host families, who we rely on to accommodate our students during their studies. The locals are always so welcoming when students arrive in the village and are genuinely interested in getting to know new faces. 

We believe that by offering a warm and welcoming environment where our students feel safe, we allow them to flourish and work at their best. While studying at the Chippendale School, our students are secure in the knowledge that there is a comprehensive support system in place to help them every step of the way through their woodworking journey. 

The Chippendale School provides a warm and welcoming environment for those seeking to pursue a passion for woodworking and craft a career in furniture making. We are now taking applications for our next Professional Course – find out more or get in touch with us today. 

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