Fairfield is a PNEU School, which means that it is affiliated to the Parents’ National Education Union (PNEU). There are PNEU Schools throughout the British Isles and the world.
PNEU Schools have always been known to have a well structured and wide curriculum. The movement started towards the end of the 19th century, influenced by the principles and ideas of a renowned Victorian educationalist, Charlotte Mason, who died in 1923. She founded the Charlotte Mason Teacher Training College in the Lake District, to train students in her philosophy and methods, as well as all other aspects of education. Her ideas challenged the generally accepted views of how to educate children. She believed that “children are persons”, and that teachers and parents should treat them as individuals who need to be stimulated from an early age by a broad curriculum, not simply to be trained to read, write and count. That curriculum should contain the best literature, the best art, the best contemporary science etc. At the start of the 21st century these ideas may seem self-evident; they were not self-evident at the end of the 19th century and it could be argued that it is only because of Charlotte Mason and others like her that they are regarded as self-evident now. During the rest of the 20th century both the Charlotte Mason Teacher Training College and the PNEU went through many changes. Charlotte Mason College is now an integral part of St Martin’s College, Lancaster, and the home-school work of the PNEU (mainly for UK families living abroad) is carried out by the Bell Educational Trust based in Cambridge.
Fairfield was founded in 1935 by a local governess, Miss Barbara Lambert. Miss Lambert had trained at the Charlotte Mason Teacher Training College in the Lake District as a PNEU teacher and the school followed the traditions of the PNEU whose values and principles were inspired by Charlotte Mason. The School follows these traditions to this day, with particular emphasis on the development of the individual child within a broad and balanced curriculum.
The PNEU Badge and Motto
The bird is a skylark on a blue background. This represents the ability of everyone to rise to great heights and to stay there – that is the lark hovering.
The motto “I am, I can, I ought, I will.”
I am – each of us is a person in our own right and has within us the power of knowing ourselves, both our qualities and our faults.
I can – we have the ability to use our talents to the full and should never be tempted to waste them through lack of effort.
I ought – our own consciences and knowledge of right and wrong tell us what we ought to do and we should all do our best to see that we carry this out.
I will – a determination on our part to listen to our conscience and to act on what we ought to do.