We help start and advise Democratic Free Schools on the Summerhill model; we also help democratise alternative and mainstream schools and classrooms.


A Democratic School Critic

Working Within the System “Democratic schools are just groups of privileged kids playing at equality,” says Ted. “That’s not really democracy. You can’t learn about good governance by shutting yourself away from the world.” “What do you mean?” I ask. “What’s wrong with giving children choices?” Children Born Into a World of Choices    “Ha,…



Anarchy Rules… um… OK? Democratic schools flirt with anarchism. Anywhere you have a small democratic community that turns its face away from Socialist central planning on the one side and Capitalist manipulation of the market on the other, anarchy is bound to be mentioned. Anarchists look at Summerhill in confusion. “Why didn’t Neill come right out…


Sunday Basics: Free Choice

Giving Choices: the Invisible Teacher It doesn’t matter how nice you are, how exciting you are, or how well-meaning you are, if your basic instinct is to reduce choices you shouldn’t be working in a democratic school. This is a tricky issue. You might be a real believer, for example, convinced that you have the…


Thursday Thoughts: Boarding

“The English have boarding schools because they do not love their children,” says José. “That just won’t work here.” I can’t really argue with him because there is a profound cultural chasm between us. I don’t find the closeness of his Mediterranean family heart-warming; I find it suffocating. Summerhill is a boarding school of another…


Sunday Basics: Equality

Do you know what is good for children? You are wrong! I have heard people say things like, “children love structure” or “routine is good for children” or, on the other side, “children need to be left alone” and “freedom is the best tonic for children.” I don’t believe any of this because I don’t…



“This is a much needed project. There is a wide gap between what people WANT our kind of schools to be and the reality. It is so important that people with on-the-ground experience keep the knowledge of real Summerhill ideals alive. Jason and Leonard have that experience.”

-Zoe Readhead,
Principal of Summerhill

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