RF Mackenzie: a head who helped change the face of education

Half a century ago, pioneering headteacher R F Mackenzie campaigned on behalf of the most vulnerable children for changes to education that still resonate today, writes John Rutter

The head who changed education

Although largely forgotten by those working in Scottish schools today, the half-century-old ideas of the pioneering educationalist R F Mackenzie continue to have resonance in our classrooms.

He is, perhaps, most renowned for his time at Summerhill Academy in Aberdeen in the late 1960s and early 1970s. His refusal to sanction corporal punishment at a point when the use of the tawse was the main disciplinary method in Scottish schools led to a divided staff and, ultimately, his suspension and sacking at a hearing in front of the Aberdeen Education Committee (AEC).

The public meeting with the ...

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