New Arrowsmith School making a difference for students already


Student Daniel Harlock with teacher Joanne Dickenson, student Ishmael Harlock and father John Harlock. Picture: Matt Jelonek
Student Daniel Harlock with teacher Joanne Dickenson, student Ishmael Harlock and father John Harlock. Picture: Matt Jelonek

FOR surgeon John Harlock, sending his two sons Daniel and Ishmael to the recently opened Arrowsmith School in Perth’s CBD was an obvious choice.

“I realised there was an issue with one of my sons; he had a learning deficit and needed an individualised learning plan,” Mr Harlock said.

“They have always been homeschooled, but after I stumbled across the school, it just seemed like such a logical choice.”

Following the success of its Brisbane school, the first-of-its-kind in Perth school opened its doors to its eight inaugural students on February 13.

After its success overseas, the Hopes and Dreams Foundation brought the Arrowsmith Program to the eastern states of Australia.

The school was initiated and funded by a dedicated group of parents whose children were already attending an Arrowsmith school overseas, or were on a waitlist for one on the east coast.

Child teacher and psychologist Joanne Dickenson has been employed to teach the students.

“With over 30 years experience working in the area of individual development and achievement of personal potential, I am very excited to be a part of this new initiative,” Ms Dickenson said.

“I look forward to using my experience and qualifications in psychology, administration and education to establish and maintain a best practice, positive and effective schooling experience for these students.”

Although the school is designed to assist young adults’ transition from high school into university or workplaces, it can cater for students as young as 13, provided they have an independent education plan in place or are being homeschooled.

Mr Harlock, whose sons are 14 and 24, said he believed the $25,000 per year price tag was cost effective.

“It’s like giving someone with a leg problem a crutch,” he said.

“But to get to the underlying problem, you need to do rehabilitation and fix it.

“With a crutch you can walk, but never run.

“I was hearing reports of kids that were really excelling through Arrowsmith, and I thought, ‘I don’t just want my son to walk, I want him to run’.”

Founder of Arrowsmith Program and author of the international bestselling book The Woman Who Changed Her Brain, Barbara Arrowsmith-Young, will be in Perth this week as a guest of the Perth Writers’ Festival.