Re: [Discuss-sudbury-model] sudbury/summerhill

From: <>
Date: Tue Feb 25 13:08:01 2003

In a message dated 2/25/03 6:34:44 AM, writes:

<< All I know about Summerhill is what I have read and I don't know if

has changed since Zoe took over.

One difference is that Summerhill has scheduled classes which teachers are

required to hold, but which students are not required to attend.

Another is that Neill took a more therapeutic approach and held counseling

sessions with some students and would intervene as a therapist on occasion.

Also, Neill clearly owned the school. As such, he had the ability to change

the guidelines whenever he wanted. The democratic structure depended on his

goodwill. At a Sudbury model school, there are By-Laws which guarantee the

democratic structure and the school is owned by the corporation (students,

parents, and staff) , not by an individual.

I want to say that I have great admiration for Neill and Summerhill and

believe that the differences, though real, are far less than the

similarities. We all owe Neill a great deal for pioneering for us.

Other differences anyone is aware of?

~Alan Klein >>

Dear Alan:
I visited Summerhill for about the 10th time this December. A few comments:

I think the biggest difference between Summerhill and SVS is that Summerhill
is boarding. Without having experienced it, I don't think people can
understand how significant this is.

Also, Neill dropped his therapeutic approach toward the later part of his
time there, decided it was ineffective, that freedom was all that was needed.
The newest editing of his writings, by Albert Lamb, make that clear (we just
received a new shipment of those books. They are hard to get.)

Also, Zoe believes that because they are a propriatary school and not run by
a board, they have been able to stay truer to Neill's basic philosophy. That
was what their most recent fight with the English education bureaucracy was
all about. That they won that fight was crucial to all of us working for
democratic education.

They keep experimenting with class scheduling, and some teachers now work in
a way similar to SVS, responding to the interest of individual students.

They decided last year that they didn't like the Tribunal, similar to the JC.
Now they have democratic meetings every day for a half hour and all business
goes through the meeting.

Those are some of the differences that I know of.

Jerry Mintz
Received on Tue Feb 25 2003 - 13:07:55 EST

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