No slaves at Summerhill;Letter

11th June 1999 at 01:00
I was saddened to hear of the plight of Summerhill. As a teacher at a conventional school for more than 30 years I do not warm to pupil power and take-it-or-leave-it classes. The shared toilets and nude bathing hardly shock today.

The ideas of AS Neil have sparked great interest among trainee teachers for generations. I remember being fascinated to be acquainted with such revolutionary ideas which have challenged and changed our schools over the years.

The inspectors have found the school wanting in many basic ways but they themselves are slaves to convention and therefore ill-equipped to measure the unusual benefits from this type of schooling.

Providing prospective and present parents are made aware of the inspectors' findings and they are still keen to send their children to Summerhill, surely it is their right? Slaves to convention rarely become great artists, or great anything.

I suspect that Summerhill pupils are less neurotic and hopefully happier than our exam-led automatons. There is strength in diversity. Long live Summerhill.

Bob Lee, 24 Green Lane Close, Byfleet, Surrey

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