About us

Our Ethos

The aim of Dormer House is to give children a liberal education through a wide curriculum based on the philosophy of Charlotte Mason, founder of the PNEU (Parents’ National Education Union).

Charlotte Mason was influential as an educationalist from the latter part of the 19th century until her death in 1923.  There are six inter-related strands to her philosophy:

Children As Individuals

‘Children are born Persons’ – An honest realisation that each child is born different and will have varying talents and needs.

A Structured Syllabus

There should be a framework delineating a broad curriculum so that all staff know exactly what standard is being aimed at.

A Wide Curriculum

There should be a broad-based curriculum, which will encourage critical thinking in all aspects.

A Stimulating And Enjoyable Curriculum

Above all there needs to be an enthusiasm for learning.  Given the awareness of individual needs and a rich curriculum, education should be enjoyable.

The Teacher

Teachers should not interrupt of interfere needlessly; nor should they pre-suppose what will emerge from a lesson.  Having provided the raw material and encouraged the innate enthusiasm they should leave the children to produce their own work.

The Parent

The involvement of the parent in the educational process is invaluable.

Who Was Charlotte Mason?

Born in Bangor, Wales Charlotte Mason was an only child.  After the deaths of both parents Charlotte enrolled to become a teacher; she taught for many years and during this time began to develop her vision for a liberal education for all.

The word “liberal”, as it related to education in Mason’s time, implied a generous and broad curriculum for all children, regardless of social class.

What Does PNEU Stand For?

Charlotte Mason proved to be an inspirational teacher and was invited to teach and lecture at Bishop Otter Teacher Training College where she stayed for more than five years.  Her experiences there convinced her that parents would be greatly helped if they understood some basic principles about bringing up children.  So Mason gave a series of lectures, which were later published and from this beginning, the Parents’ Educational Union was formed and quickly expanded.  It later became known as the Parents’ National Educational Union.

Her motto for students was and still is:

I Am, I Can, I Ought, I Will.