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Revised 27 Feb 2000
Don't Let Them Down!
For 78 years, in England there has been a remarkable school exploring fascinating alternatives to traditional education. The government is, in effect, trying to stamp the school out of existance. Its seems intent on either changing it out of recognition, or closing it.
Now- if they were using their clout (and our tax revenues) to alert the parents to 'terrible' things going on at the school, and letting parents decide to stop paying the fees, I wouldn't mind. But that's not the story. If the school was one of the many unknown, second rate, dumps which ought to be exposed and caused to wither, I wouldn't mind. But this isn't. This is a school that I had to STUDY as part of my teacher training 25 years ago... and parents are still paying to send their kids there... but they won't have that option much longer if something isn't done to tell the politicians to pXss oXX. This is the school established by the remarkable A.S. Neill.
When are people going to start voting meddlesome politicians out of office? While you might not care about Summerhill, the next area of interference might be something you do care about.
As part of the inspection process... itself, in general a flawed system in need of serious improvement (go to "Ofsed" in a suitable discussion group)... questionaires were sent to parents. For each, there were five options for the responder. Over 70% of the Summerhill parents returned the questionnaire. That in itself was remarkable, I think. There were about a dozen questions. NOT a SINGLE responded with the most negative alternative to A SINGLE of the questions.
(BTW: Getting a copy of the inspection report was in itself a "comedy" illustrating why we need to rein in government. One might even suspect that one was lied to a couple of times by people who get their salaries out of the taxes one is forced to cough up. Now why might anyone want to hide the report?)
So... how can you help?
a) Spread the word.
b) Send them money for their legal expenses in fighting the fight to retain the freedom to offer a program that at least some parents want to try for their children. (You can do them an extra favour by either saying "no acknowlegement needed", or by sending an sae if you want one.) The address:
Suffolk IP16 4HY
The Good News
If you are a UK taxpayer, you can now send money for the fight via an account that the Inland Revenue recognises as a charity. This makes sense if you are going to use CAF, Gift Aid, or a covenant... all of which significantly increse the benefit of whatever you give; none of which are very hard.
Human Scale Education
Summerhill School website to learn more, or
Discussions about the fight to survive.
(Remember to come back here afterwards, please?!)
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If you are a British taxpayer, the following may also be of interest....
Suppose you decide to give £80 to the school. How would you like to make that more than £100 without writing a larger cheque? How would you like to claw back some of the taxes you've paid, and get them applied to something worthwhile?
As you probably know, there are covenants for charities you want to support for a number of years, and Gift Aid for big gifts. You give a certain amount, and the charity recovers from the government the tax you paid on the amount you've given. But what about "one off" things? And wouldn't it be nice sometimes to make the gifts anonymously? And aren't credit cards easy to use?
That's where the Charities Aid Foundation comes in.
They are a charity. You covenant even a small amount per year to them. That gives you an "account" almost like a current account or a credit card account. CAF recovers the tax, and puts most of it in your account. From that account, you can make one off donations to charities as and wen you like.
Great system! Great service!
Charities Aid Foundation website
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