Skip to main content

SummerhillIf you really want an alternative education, where children are free to attend lessons or not, Summerhill may be the ticket.

A haven for those who find school challenging, but not for the challenged or problem teenager, it emphasises knowing yourself and friendship, rather than scurrying into the rat-race.

Children have the absolute right to attend or not attend classes and they regulate their lives through a democratic meeting where everyone, regardless of age, has an equal vote.

As one parent told us: ‘You send your children to Summerhill if you believe that learning has as much to do with connaitre, as it does with savoir, and if you believe that academic learning is something that can and should go on throughout your life.’ For some Summerhill is exciting, not because it offers the freedom to opt out of education but because it extols the joys of opting in.


Related articles

  • Alternative education Steiner-Waldorf philosophy

    Nurturing emotional and cognitive intelligence. Underpinning Steiner-Waldorf education is a belief that children should be enthusiastic about, and enjoy, learning for its own sake; not to pass exams. As a result enquiry and exploration are encouraged. Read more...

  • Alternative education, Montessori - creativity, exploration...

    Pioneered by Maria Montessori to educate the poor in Italy, to the uninitiated, Montessori methods may seem like a free-for-all. Homework, testing and exams are seldom found, the Montessori method concentrates on personal development and progress. Read more...

Subscribe for instant access to in-depth reviews, data and catchment:

30,000 Independent, state and special schools in our parent-friendly interactive directory.
 School exam results by subject and performance GCSE, A level or equivalent.
 Which schools pupils come from and go onto.
 Honest, opinionated and fearless independent reviews of over 1,000 schools.
Comprehensive catchment maps for English state schools by year of entry.
School data comparison by results, relative success and popularity.
 Independent tutor company reviews.

Try before you buy - The Charter School Southwark

**For a limited time get one month's Good Schools Guide subscription free with any purchase of The Good Schools Guide to Boarding Schools.**

The Good Schools Guide subscription

 GSG Blog >    In the news >

The Good Schools Guide newsletter

The Good Schools Guide Newsletter

Educational insight in your inbox. Sign up for our popular newsletters.

Career, relationship, children – can our daughters have it all?


For a limited time get one month's Good Schools Guide subscription free with any purchase of The Good Schools Guide to Boarding Schools.