Summerhill schools.....


Well years ago.. as a younger child i remember reading the book " Freedom not Licence" by A.S. Neill about his particular brand of school that instead of making the child fit the school, sought to make the school fit the child... and the name of the school was Summerhill - out there in England..

a little about the school.. it's late so i'm just gettin summaries

Summerhill is noted for its philosophy that children learn best with freedom from coercion. All lessons are optional, and pupils are free to choose what to do with their time. Neill founded Summerhill with the belief that "the function of a child is to live his own life — not the life that his anxious parents think he should live, not a life according to the purpose of an educator who thinks he knows best."<SUP class=reference>[4]</SUP><SUP id=cite_ref-4 class=reference>[5]</SUP>
In addition to taking control of their own time, pupils can participate in the self-governing community of the school. School meetings are held three times a week, where pupils and staff alike have an equal voice in the decisions that affect their day-to-day lives, discussing issues and creating or changing school laws. The rules agreed at these meetings are wide ranging - from agreeing on acceptable bed times to making nudity allowed at the poolside. Meetings are also an opportunity for the community to vote on a course of action for unresolved conflicts, such as a fine for a theft (usually the fine consists of having to pay back the amount stolen).
In creating its laws and dealing out sanctions, the school meeting generally applies A.S. Neill's maxim "Freedom not Licence" (he wrote a book of the same name); the principle that you can do as you please, so long as it doesn't cause harm to others. Hence, you are free to swear as much as you like, within the school grounds, but calling someone else an offensive name is license.
It is upon these major principles, namely, democracy, equality and freedom that Summerhill School operates

Educational structure
<SUP class=reference>[4]</SUP>
Although Neill was more concerned with the social development of children than their academic development, Summerhill nevertheless has some important differences in its approach to teaching. There is no concept of a "year" or "form" at Summerhill. Instead, children are placed according to their ability in a given subject. It is not uncommon for a single class to have pupils of widely varying ages, or for pupils as young as 13 or 14 to take GCSE examinations. This structure reflects a belief that children should progress at their own pace, rather than having to meet a set standard by a certain age.
There are also two classrooms which operate on a "drop-in" basis for all or part of the day, the workshop and the art room. Anyone can come to these classrooms and, with supervision, make just about anything. Children commonly play with wooden toys (usually swords or guns) they have made themselves, and much of the furniture and décor in the school has been likewise constructed by students.<SUP id=cite_ref-6 class=reference>[7]</SUP>
Boarding houses and pastoral care
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Children at Summerhill are placed in one of five groups which correspond to the buildings in which they are accommodated. Placement is generally decided at the beginning of term by the Principal, in theory according to age. In practice, a younger child may take priority if they have been waiting a long time for a place, if they have many friends in the upper group or if they show a maturity characteristic of a member of the upper group.
Certain school rules pertain specifically to certain age groups, for instance, no one else may ride a San kid's bicycle, and only Shack and Carriage kids are allowed to build camp fires. The rules concerning when children must go to bed are also made according to age group.
Bedrooms generally accommodate four or five children.
[edit] Houseparents

Each of the boarding houses (save the Carriages, see below) has a "houseparent": a member of staff whose duty is pastoral care. The duties of a houseparent include doing their charges' laundry, treating minor injuries and ailments, taking them to the doctor's surgery or hospital for more serious complaints, and general emotional support. Depending on the age group, they might also tell them bedtime stories, keep their valuables secure, escort them into town to spend their pocket money or speak on their behalf in the meetings.
[edit] San

Ages 6 – 8 (approx)
The San building is an outbuilding, near the primary classrooms; its name derives from the fact that it was originally built as a sanitarium. When there proved to be insufficient demand for a separate sanitarium, it was given over to accommodation for the youngest children and their houseparent. At one time, San kids were housed in the main school building, and the San building used as the library. They have since moved back, and the rooms they previously occupied now house the Cottage Kids.
The laws of the school generally protect San kids, both by disallowing them from engaging in certain dangerous activities and preventing older kids from bullying, swindling or otherwise abusing their juniors. San kids have the right to bring up their cases at the beginning of the school meeting or have another student or a teacher bring the issue or issues up on their behalf.
San children can sleep in mixed sex rooms, while older children have single sex rooms.
[edit] Cottage

Ages 9 – 10 (approx)
Cottage kids were originally housed in Neill's old cottage, at the edge of the school grounds. For some time, the San wholly replaced the Cottage, but Cottage kids are now housed in the main school building.
Children at Summerhill around this age (what Neill termed "the gangster age") often begin to "act out", possibly becoming more aggressive or stealing. For this reason, it is advantageous to separate them from the more vulnerable younger children.
[edit] House

Ages 11–12 (approx)
House kids are accommodated in the main school building, called simply "the House". They are generally the most unruly and disruptive of Summerhill children (continuing Neill's gangster age), and often practice late-night "sneak outs", or leaving their rooms without permission after lights out.
[edit] Shack

Ages 13–14 (approx)
The Shack buildings (there are two, the Boy's Shack and the Girl's Shack) are small outbuildings, so called because of the somewhat ramshackle nature of their original construction. The buildings have since been renovated.
Children of Shack age and above are expected to take a more active role in running the school, standing for committees, chairing the meetings, acting as Ombudsmen to resolve disputes and speaking in the school meetings. Of course, younger children can take on most of these roles if they so wish, and none of them are compulsory even for the older children.
[edit] Carriages

Ages 15+ (approx)
The carriage buildings are similar to those of the Shack, only larger. However, they were originally converted rail carriages. Since the last renovation, the Boy's Carriage building incorporates a kitchenette and the Girl's Carriages a common room and shower block (other bathrooms in the school have only baths.) Either facility may be used by both sexes.
The Carriage kids each have individual rooms, and are not looked after by a houseparent. Instead they are expected to do their own laundry and generally look after themselves, although there is a rota for staff members to take care of any Carriage kids who become ill, and they are free to consult the Shack houseparent if they feel in need of adult advice or medical assistance.

the Enid Bylton Series - the Naughtiest Girl - was based on this school as many of the Whyteleafe's school's policies were the same..

the school website
A. S. Neill's Summerhill School

so the question is What do you think of a school like this that allows the child to fit the school to his or her needs rather than be moulded to fit the school's curriculum..


New member
I really like the form of education they implemented. It's so nice to have optional lessons and choose whatever you want to learn and choose what you want to spend on your free time. The pupils are lucky to have such learning conditions.
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But the form Summerhill school uses is the best variant for children to have a great childhood.
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