Can Europe Make It?

Call for a show of solidarity with Sudbury School Ammersee

After two years of successful work, the Sudbury School Ammersee - the first of its kind in Bavaria - was summarily closed down by regional authorities. Join us for a day of solidarity with the school!

9 November 2016

A class at Sudbury School Ammersee

The Sudbury School Ammersee, EUDEC (European Democratic Education Community), and the ‘Netzwerk für selbstbestimmte Bildung’ are joining forces for a day of international solidarity with the Sudbury School Ammersee on 10 November!

After two years of successful work, the Sudbury School Ammersee has been summarily closed by the ‘responsible‘ authority, the regional government of Upper Bavaria, allegedly because ‘not enough was being learned there’.

Renowned social scientists, experts, large numbers of visitors and the entire school community declare: This is a drastically wrong decision at the expense of the children. All these people from very different walks of life have been able to witness, directly, how pupils of the school have flourished and, each in their own individual way, learned huge amounts. Therefore we see no reasonable alternative and demand that the Sudbury School Ammersee immediately be given approval to continue operations, that democratic values and justice be upheld!

To this end, we want to make a clear statement with a global action on 10 November.

We would like to ask all of you – schools, associations, private persons, friends and supporters all over the world – please make your solidarity with the Sudbury School Ammersee visible.

Think up small or big actions calling for the reopening of the school. Light a candle, organize a party or a firework display or a demonstration, send a selfie, roll out the banners, meditate, take photographs, shoot videos, call the newsroom, call the President...

The Sudbury School Ammersee community itself will gather in front of the Ministry of Education building, to demonstrate and show on an open stage how colourful and multi-faceted learning can be.

Children's rights matter

The Sudbury School Ammersee – closed despite its success.

As the first consistently democratic school in Bavaria, the Sudbury School Ammersee is fundamentally different from conventional schools: The pupils decide for themselves what, when and how they learn. All decisions concerning the day-to-day running of the school are taken by pupils and employees together.

In the two years of its existence, the Sudbury School Ammersee has worked very well. Pupils have gained or regained their self-confidence, found out about themselves, grown together as a community, implemented countless projects and so on. The first leavers have successfully passed external school-leaving exams.

Those involved have identified themselves with the democratic structures that uphold the school: taking responsibility, taking decisions, negotiating rules and plans, taking account of minority opinions, discussing. There are no reasonable grounds for the decision to close down the school that was taken by the regional government of Upper Bavaria.

Many visitors, including skilled and experienced professionals, have unequivocally attested to the high quality of the school operation. Many pupils are sadly missing their school right now. They feel that they have been unjustly treated and they are having to face problems again that they believed they had overcome.

Catastrophic inspection

The regional government of Upper Bavaria maintains that ‘not enough was being learned there’ – this is demonstrably only a pretext! The decision was preceded by an extraordinarily incompetently conducted inspection. One pupil broke down under the interrogation of an official, and the school was obliged to declare that person persona non grata. After that, the situation escalated and approval was withdrawn.

If the authorities had seriously wanted the Sudbury School Ammersee to be successful…

- the government representatives would have had no option but to acknowledge the positive developments that everyone else sees.

- the decision-makers would have to take the findings of the two-year study (that also came to positive conclusions) seriously.

- they would give the school a great deal more time to develop. Experts have confirmed that the minimum period needed to be able to assess how a school is progressing is one complete school generation – not to years.

The Sudbury School Ammersee has brought an action against the decision. It will take a long time before a final decision is made, and we are now trying to secure a court decision to allow the school to continue operations in the meantime.

We expect such an interim decision to be made around the end of November. A great deal depends on this. Until then we want to draw as much attention as possible to the issue. Please support us! Plan something big or little on the day of international solidarity with the Sudbury School Ammersee on 10 November!

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