See Why These Kids Can't Wait to Go to School on a Saturday

When students get put in the educational driver's seat, they'll show up to learn.
Mar 25, 2015· 1 MIN READ
Culture and education editor Liz Dwyer has written about race, parenting, and social justice for several national publications. She was previously education editor at Good.

Every Saturday morning a group of students in Rochdale, England, head to Matthew Moss High School. But D6, the program they’re participating in, isn’t your typical Saturday School initiative: There are no schedules, no teachers, and no compulsory classes—and students aren’t required to attend.

Instead, as you can see in the video above, the 150 students between the ages of 13 to 16 who show up to D6—it's named for the sixth day of the week—on Saturday come because they want to get (or give) academic assistance.

Mark Morehouse, the head teacher at Matthew Moss, started the program after noticing that most teenagers spend their Saturdays “wiping tables on a Saturday for minimum wage.” Now he pays older teens about $7 per hour to coach younger students.

“I did know it was going to work because people are hardwired to learn,” says Morehouse.

Most of the students at Matthew Moss aren’t from well-off backgrounds. Rochdale, a suburb of Manchester, is one of the poorest communities in England. However, they’re motivated to skip sleeping in on a Saturday because the school provides a safe space where they can drive their own learning.

As you watch the video, you’ll notice that several students note that what they really enjoy about D6 is that they have the freedom to choose what they want to study. But in case you’re thinking the teens are just wasting time, several of them talk about how their grades have soared since they began attending D6.

The program is a far cry from the teacher-driven, heavily structured schooling experience that most students receive. It might make you wonder what would happen if our schools looked like this all the time.