Summerhill

2nd May 2003 at 01:00

Free Range Childhood: self-regulation at Summerhill School
By Matthew Appleton
Gale Centre Publications pound;14.95

Summerhill, an independent school in deepest Suffolk, has been described as the "oldest children's democracy in the world". Since it was founded in 1921, it has been a source of horrified fascination to the British media. But serious educators across the world see Summerhill as an important test-bed for libertarian education theory.

Founded as a "free school" by the charismatic Scottish teacher A S Neill, and now run by his daughter, Summerhill aims to give its pupils the freedom to explore themselves and the world. Neill believed children were never "bad," but that wild and selfish behaviour was caused by unhappiness - often through brutal constraints forced by the distorted values of the adult world.

At a time when opposition to compulsory testing in English schools is growing, Matthew Appleton's book offers an eloquent and persuasive introduction to Neill's ideas, as they were lived out at Summerhill during the nine years he was a houseparent there.

Read the full version of this review in TES Friday magazinenbsp;

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now