Radical Then, Radical Now: Care and Education in Communities

In 1913 an American called Homer Lane was appointed to run the Little Commonwealth, the first experiment in community education in the UK. A.S. Neill was greatly influenced by Homer Lane and, through his writings and his work at Summerhill, he in turn influenced the British education system as a whole and the therapeutic care of children. Homer Lane’s thinking was radical then, and it is still radical, one hundred years on.

This important centenary is being celebrated jointly by the Child Care History Network and Hilfield Priory, now the home of an Order of Anglicans but also the former site of the Little Commonwealth itself.


Emily Charkin, John Diamond, Prof. Michael Fielding, David Gribble, Albert Lamb,
Brother Philip Bartholomew SSF, Charles Sharpe, Judith Stinton

For further information, and to register

See http://www.cchn.org.uk or phone 01242 620125 and ask to speak with Craig


10.15 Start
10.15-10.30. Various welcomes:
• Brother Hugh, SSF Hilfield Friary
• David Lane – Marking the 5th anniversary of CCHN
• Craig: Homer Lane (conference overview)
• Judith Stinton: Little Commonwealth (Introduction, leading to:)

10.30-11.15 Judith Stinton, “Round the Houses” A tour of the LC, with an introduction to the sitting rooms where discussions will take place later

11.15 Michael Fielding, “Self-government, shared responsibility and the possibility of radical democratic education”

11.40-11.55 Break

11.55 Albert Lamb, “The Rescue of Childhood: Homer Lane and A.S. Neill”

12.15 Brother Philip Bartholomew, SSF, St. Francis School, Hooke

12.35 Charles Sharpe, “Freedom cannot be given. It is taken by children and demands the privilege of conscious wrong-doing.” Has Homer Lane’s thesis space to be accommodated in the 21st century?

13.00 Lunch

14.00 Planting of centenary celebration tree

14.20 Emily Charkin, “Building and Learning: Exploring the fundamentals of radical education and child care”

14.40 John Diamond,’the children of the dangerous and perishing classes’

15.00 Break and discussion groups in sitting rooms around the Quadrangle:
• What we’ve heard/themes that have arisen
• What needs to be done
• What can CCHN do over the next five years?

15.50 David Gribble, “Similar ideas in dissimilar settings”

16.20 David Lane: Gathering thoughts of the Future: CCHN’s next five years

16.30 End

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