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

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Natural

What is Natural? Fatso is the cat in my village. Right now he is at the window miaowing to get in. He is a useless Tomcat who gets beaten up by the more aggressive Toms in the village but has a winning whine that gets him attention from human carers. When I look at Fatso I…

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Keeping it Simple

I am going to tell a story. And I am going to tell you the moral of the story first: keep it simple. It should inspire you when you are battling out with your management team what your school is really about. Jon Steel has sat through an elaborate presentation of all the many wonderful…

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Starting Out

8 Ways to Kick into Gear There is a difference between thinking up a good idea and getting down to work with it. We know this at Summerhill Democratics because we are human like everyone else: we can trip up on the same roadblocks that stop other people advancing with their projects. In this post…

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Cat’s Curriculum

The Cat’s Backbone Strong and flexible: the opposite of rigour. Rigour is a word that pops up all the time in political talk about education. I can’t hear it without thinking of rigor mortis, Death’s icy hand on children. The Cat’s Backbone Core Curriculum is not at all rigorous, realising that if the tabby jumps…

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The Curriculum

Broad Definitions of the Curriculum Democratic Education has a bad reputation for chucking out the whole curriculum. It is time to get over this. The option is to forever be at the mercy of charismatics leading children up the garden path. I’d like to start by proposing three principles. Let’s make a curriculum appropriate to…

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Edutainment

Edutainment The grumpy old curmudgeon sometimes gives the impression that he doesn’t care much how the kids turn out. He’s walking along the path with Bertrand Russell who is holding the attention of a kid with a talk on the stars they can see in the night sky. “You know the difference between you and…

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Testimonial

“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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