Real Education
By David Gribble

Book of the week in the Times Educational Supplement 1998

When I retired from teaching I had time to visit other schools around the world where children were treated with a proper respect. They differed widely. In this book there are descriptions of eighteen schools in eight different countries, often largely (and in the case of Summerhill entirely) in the words of pupils or ex-pupils.


Lifelines by David Gribble
By David Gribble

Book of the week in the Times Educational Supplement 2001

A common objection to freedom in education is, “Of course it works with the children of wealthy, middle-class parents, but it would never work with the underprivileged.” Lifelines gives accounts of its success with children as far from the wealthy middle class as it is possible to go.



Worlds Apart by David Gribble
 By David Gribble

The two worlds in question are the worlds of traditional education on the one hand, and Summerhill and Sands School on the other. They are described first in the words of their own prospectuses, and then in the words of their pupils, with matching topics on facing pages.

Book of the week in the Times Educational Supplement



Considering Children by David Gribble

I wrote it because I had so often been asked, “What is progressive education?” and I had found that I needed a whole book to answer the question.

Dorling Kindersley,1985, £8.95
ISBN 0 -86318-081-7 and 0-86318-0802-5

Download the book here:
zipConsidering Children.zip1.15 MB
docConsidering Children.doc1.46 MB


Children Dont Start Wars Book


The theme of this book is that altruism is a natural human characteristic which is eroded by social conditioning and the dominance of impersonal institutions.

"I am floored by the blazing honesty, insight, scholarship and truthfulness that shines from every page. . . . For me, it's the book we've all been waiting for."

Mary Leue, founder of Albany Free School and editor of SKOLE, The Journal of Alternative Education.



Dartington Hall School Remembered



This anthology includes at least one contribution by a pupil from every year of the history of Dartington Hall School, from 1929 - 1987. It is not a eulogy, and contains some emphatic criticism.





A Really Good School
By David Gribble

This is a satirical novel about an impossibly bad school, where every fault of traditional education is gleefully exaggerated. It is also murder story, with appropriate red herrings and suspense.

Seven-ply Yarns, 2001, £7.99
ISBN 0-9538797-1-2




A Visitor from Erewhon


In Erewhon and Erewhon Revisited Samuel Butler delighted in attacking the complacency and hypocrisy of Victorian manners and religion. In A Visitor from Erewhon I attempt to do the same for the customs and beliefs of our early twenty-first century.

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docA_Visitor_from_Erewhon.doc632.50 KB



Escape from Tradition


This is an autobiography of education. It travels from Nanny via Eton and Cambridge to Dartington Hall School, Sands School and beyond, to some of the most deprived children in the world.

Download the book here:
zipescape.zip149.75 KB
docEscape From Tradition.doc436.50 KB



Authoritarian Schooling web site


This is strictly speaking a website rather than a book, but it started out as a book. I suddenly realised that the ideal structure would be a website, where readers could dodge from one topic to another as they liked.

Since 2012, when the site was first posted, there have been over 130,000 hits on individual items, so it seems to have been a good idea.