Leonard Turton

Leonard Turton has worked in education for 52 years.

• In 1971, Leonard founded Odyssey House, a successful democratic day school based on the Summerhill model.

• In state schools, he has taught in mainstream and special needs classrooms; at the Niagara Centre for Youth Care counseling unit, he worked with students excluded from school.

• In 1982, Leonard started, and was the manager of the Children’s Learning Centre, a homeschooling venture.

• In the 1990’s, he developed Club House Democracy, successfully integrating Summerhill democratic methods into traditional inner-city school classrooms.

• Leonard came to A.S. Neill’s Summerhill School in 2002 where he was the Class 2 teacher, drama teacher, a Curriculum Advisor and the school’s Education Manager. He retired from Summerhill in 2014.

• An originator of the European Regional Democratic Community concept, Leonard was a founding member of EUDEC and served two terms on its Executive Council.

• He has offered workshops, seminars and talks about Summerhill and democratic education in Canada, England and in many other European countries. He has contacts with experienced democratic educators across Europe.

• Leonard now lives in Spain where he writes, blogs, and has co-founded Summerhill Democratics.

Jason Preater

Jason in Asheville

Jason lives in Spain. He was the English teacher, the Art teacher and the Curriculum Manager at Summerhill School, where he worked for six years. He met Carmen, whose two children were at Summerhill, and they moved to Spain together in 2006.

He graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 1990 with an MA in Fine Art, a course of study that combined practical work and academic study. The balance of head and hand, structure and formality, study and play is important in all aspects of his life. It was conversations about the writings of Oakeshott, Neill, Freire and Illich with African teachers studying at Moray House that drew him to teach: first literacy, then art.

In 1994 he won a scholarship from the University of Bristol to do a PhD on the artist, poet and teacher Francisco Pacheco, who was the master of Velazquez and Cano. The central question of this research was educational: what brings about change in the arts? What is the role of the often-forgotten teacher? Spain is the country of the painter-poet. Now that he lives and works here, Jason is coming to see that Galicia is the area of Spain that has maintained that tradition most clearly into the present. It is has opened up a whole new area of research.

Jason has worked at all levels of education from primary to secondary, tertiary and university level. He came to the conclusion that, of all these, primary school teaching was probably the hardest and that secondary school teaching was the level that most suited him temperamentally. In an ideal world he would walk to school in the morning and spend the day reading poetry, painting and chatting with teenagers.

He now lives with Carmen in a small village in the mountains of Asturias. She has a property there where they are turning fields into gardens and encouraging people to come and enjoy the mountains, as guests in her rental cottage and as organic farm volunteers in her gardens. Jason, meanwhile, translates poetry, writes about education, paints in the woods, grows his own vegetables, gives talks to teachers and helps people with their educational projects- so long as they have that balance of head, hand and heart.

Our Place

We are based in Asturias, Spain. Our office is in Grado. There are direct flights to Oviedo from London, Paris and many Spanish airports. The airport is only 20 minutes from our office.

In our offices we have space to run workshops and training.  We use the gardens and open spaces in Jason’s village where you are also welcome to stay:  www.villandasrural.es.  Keep an eye on the blog to find details of workshops and training; or get in touch with us to craft a tailor-made democratic education event.