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What says..

Other schools seek to incorporate watered-down elements of the Summerhill philosophy, but none provides such an uncompromising, full-on, 'free' education - accepting the good (enlightenment) and the bad (illiteracy) that may result. Inspiring, fun, risky, profoundly educational and, often, unsettling: a national treasure. Swimming for the bold in unheated outdoor pool and for the meek at the Leiston Leisure Centre. Dance is an option and performance of all kinds is valued here. But no-one is coaxed into any of this: at Summerhill boredom is considered an important ingredient...

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What the school says...

Summerhill School was founded by A.S. Neill and continues to follow his radical philosophy of freedom. 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. Prospective parents are encouraged to visit the school, to read books by A.S. Neill and to visit the web. ...Read more

What the parents say...

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What The Good Schools Guide says


Since 1985, Zoe Readhead (a very youthful late 60s) – proprietor, keeper of the ethos and daughter of school's founder AS Neill. Literally born, bred and educated at Summerhill. Has been a staunch guardian of school's core values when lesser mortals would have wavered. Inspiring, uncompromising, down to earth rather than airy-fairy (is a qualified riding instructor), does not mince words. Married to Tony, a farmer, with four grown-up children all educated at Summerhill. In many ways a traditional family business: son Henry presides over the music studio; son William is deputy head and expected to take over running the school whenever Zoe retires.

Academic matters

Of secondary importance here. Summerhill is a 'free' school (NB in no way related to government-approved 'free' state schools) run on the principle that children have the same rights as...

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Special Education Needs

Summerhill School offers small class sizes, typically no larger than 1:6 and commonly 1:1 for children with dyslexia or similar learning difficulties. The school environment with its democratic meeting and emphasis on choice and self-regulated behaviour is very attractive to many parents of children with mild autistic spectrum disorders. 09-09

Condition Provision for in school
ASD - Autistic Spectrum Disorder Y
Aspergers Y
Aspergers Syndrome [archived]
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders Y
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders [archived]
CReSTeD registered for Dyslexia
Delicate Medical Problems [archived]
English as an additional language (EAL)
Epilepsy [archived]
Has an entry in the Autism Services Directory
Has SEN unit or class Y
HI - Hearing Impairment
Hospital School
Mental health
MLD - Moderate Learning Difficulty
MSI - Multi-Sensory Impairment
Natspec Specialist Colleges
OTH - Other Difficulty/Disability
Other SpLD - Specific Learning Difficulty
PD - Physical Disability
PMLD - Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulty
SEMH - Social, Emotional and Mental Health
SLCN - Speech, Language and Communication
SLD - Severe Learning Difficulty
Special facilities for Visually Impaired
SpLD - Specific Learning Difficulty
VI - Visual Impairment

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