The vast majority of STO schools are small schools. Usually the classes have not more than twenty pupils. This cosy atmosphere gives pupils a sense of security, prevents anonymity, facilitates individualization. Social competences are acquires naturally, in everyday school practice and in the course of various programmes which accompany learning. A friendly atmosphere is an important element of STO schools’ own style of education.
Every STO school is:
▪ Professional (in terms of teachers’ preparation and in its management);
▪ Friendly (building a positive attitude to learning);
▪ Creative (promoting innovative attitudes among both teachers and pupils);
▪ Focused on treating the pupil as a person (because everybody has a different personality potential).
We encourage pupils to be independent, by which we mean the courage to ask questions, engage in discussions and express their opinions, and especially the ability to solve problems. We understand the need for discipline, because it is necessary both in a community and in individual work, but there can be no mention of imposing discipline arbitrarily. We approach rivalry in a particular way: we want our pupils to compete with themselves, i.e. to strive to continuously improve their results.
There are tuition fees in STO schools; the schools are financed according to the non profit principle, so the fees vary (they depend e.g. on the school’s location and the amount of work done by parents). The curriculum is usually rich, if necessary extra tuition for slow-learners is provided, while school sport is treated seriously. This is why paying the tuition fees frees parents from many other costs of children’s education: extra classes of foreign languages, sports activities, artistic classes and private tuition.
We strive to make our schools modern and open to the world. We often implement educational projects financed with EU and national funds. When possible, we use external financing (grants) for projects for local communities and schools. We take part in European programmes which enable our pupils to go on trips abroad and efficiently learn foreign languages. And, first and foremost, we ourselves never stop learning. Teachers attend classes during the STO Summer School or at the STO Teacher Improvement Centre. Board presidents and school headmasters meet at annual programme conferences, meetings and lectures.