Kirkdale Free School


In a tumble down house in Kirkdale,
People work, laugh, play, weep and wail.
It’s so full of fools
You might call it a school,
But by no stretch
Could you call it a jail.

By Clive Davidson, a former Kirkdale Parent.

Kirkdale Free School was set up in 1964 by John and Susie Powlesland and a small group of parents seeking an alternative to the existing UK education system. It was a small independent free school in Sydenham, South London. Kirkdale was run as a parent/teacher co-operative, having no head teacher and it was influenced by the philosophy of A.S. Neill who founded ‘Summerhill’. These ideas centered on the idea that children should be allowed to work free from coercion and the schools approach was very child-centered and tolerant. Kirkdale ran until the 1980s with approximately 30 children attending the school each year.

Kirkdale Free School

   Artifacts and documentation:
No Ordinary School: Kirkdale a living alternative - booklet

Kirkdale Camps
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