Philpots Manor School was founded as a Rudolf Steiner School in 1959, by Peter and Sonja Ogilvie. At the time there was the old manor house, a few dilapidated outbuildings, a small supply of electricity and running water pumped up from a spring in the woods.
However after quite a few hectic months, the Ogilvies, with young staff from Holland and the UK were ready for their first students. At that time, the children were known as ‘maladjusted and retarded or naughty’, and found it difficult to live in ‘normal’ life situations and institutions. Philpots Manor was known as a therapeutic home school where the children could have a sense of belonging to a loving and caring community.
There were very little funds, so many of the early buildings were built by staff, children and friends.
This included three bungalows and two classroom units which were simply made of wood.
Gradually the school began to grow and by 1968 the decision was made to build the first phase of the new school building which was completed by September 1970. By 1975 the school expanded to include the purchase of part of the neighbouring farm and Colt House, which was a late Victorian coach house.
With the extra land, the school was able to expand the activities available to the children. The school was able to grow more of its vegetables, have live stock, which included a few pigs, beef cattle, sheep, chickens and a couple of milking cows.
New buildings were on the agenda again for there were now about 70 students and virtually all were termly boarders. The school’s Reception Building took shape and two more residential units, the Marley buildings, were built. Plus a new, large wing was added to the Colt house, so that the Training Course could be established. The Training course facilitated 16 – 19 year olds to develop skills in agriculture, horticulture, and building/maintenance. The school was also donated three donkeys and four ponies for riding lessons and stable management.
Art is very important for all of us and especially for young people with special needs and so it was decided to build the Art Centre which was completed in the late 1980s. This is a marvellous building of three large rooms for pottery, painting/drawing and textiles.
The last expansion of buildings came around 2004 when the Farmhouse was built to accommodate the older boys. Six years later this was divided into two separate units.
Even though Philpots does not have as many students as in the past years, none the less it is still a strong community which inspires young people to reach their potential. They all enjoy the benefits of the large area of land, nearby woods and the amount of specialized subjects which are on offer to them. The dedicated team of staff in all the departments, from both the residential and the educational sides, continue to work together to create a caring and loving community.