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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.

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