Lance Holt visits
In November 2005, Lance Holt returned to WA to visit the school he established over 35 years ago. Afterwards he wrote to say: ‘I’m still on a high. The kids were terrific. It was fantastic to see the seed I planted turned into a great tree full of fabulous critters.’
How it all began
The original Lance Holt School was founded in 1970 by the educational pioneer Lance Holt, with 21 students in a building in North Fremantle. Four years later, the school moved to its current home at 10 Henry Street in the heart of Fremantle’s West End. In 2004 the Heritage Council of WA listed Lance Holt School on its Register of Heritage Places as ‘the State’s oldest community school . . . [providing] evidence of a shift in the educational philosophies in the 1970s towards a more community-based education and school administration’. The register describes the school as ‘the only known existing example within Western Australia of a commercial building adapted for use as a full-time educational facility for children.’
A child-centred school
Lance Holt set up three schools in the early 1970s, but we are the only one that still carries his name. In the early days the school was regarded as ‘alternative’ but over the years it has undergone a number of changes, shifting its emphasis in subtle ways. Underlying the shifts is a consistent maintenance of many of the educational principles that Lance Holt advocated, including the importance of respecting children; the central role of the school in its community; and the vital balance between fostering the unique qualities of individuals as well as social and ecological responsibility. Lance Holt School is a community school and we see our place in Fremantle as very much part of that community. We are involved locally with the arts, environmental care projects and with tertiary institutions. Possibilities exist for our students to engage in a wide range of action learning, for example: coastal care, bush regeneration and solar design projects; attending local theatre productions and providing feedback to the performers; and trialling human movement programs with universities. We are committed to supporting teacher training and routinely host student placements from universities, thereby offering future teachers the opportunity to experience our unique educational practice. The school is a member of the Association of Independent Schools of WA (AISWA). We receive funding from the Commonwealth and WA State government. We have stable student numbers and staff, and a progressive curriculum that aims to give students a comprehensive, yet individually-tuned, education.