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Summerhill

Summerhill, radical progressive school in Leiston, Suffolk, England, and the educational movement based on principles developed at the school. The school was founded (1924) by A. S. Neill, who headed the institution until his death in 1973. Students range between the ages of 6 and 17. The main principle behind the operation of the school is freedom. There is no compulsory attendance at classes, and most administrative questions are decided jointly by students and teachers. In 1999–2000 the British government threatened to close Summerhill, charging it failed to provide some children with an adequate education as a result of allowing them the freedom to control their learning. Under a negotiated agreement Summerhill's freedom-based educational program was preserved. A number of schools based on similar principles, in both Britain and the United States, describe themselves as Summerhill schools.

See A. S. Neill, Summerhill: A Radical Approach to Child Rearing (1960); J. Walmsley, Neill & Summerhill: A Man and His Work (1969); H. H. Hart, ed., Summerhill: For & Against (1970).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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