Monthly Archives: February 2016

Liberating Institutions, a paper by John Burton published by the Centre for Welfare Reform

In what many believe to be a critical time for our social care system The Centre for Welfare Reform has  just published an exigent and apposite discussion paper by John Burton, Liberating Institutions. In this discussion paper John describes the way in which care homes and the people who live and work in them are subjugated and constricted by a social care system run and regulated for the benefit, protection and preservation of an elite of – mostly well-meaning – politicians, bureaucrats, care organisations and in a large part for the profits of owners and shareholders.

However, the author believes that there is an alternative, more hopeful, way to look at the same picture. In every care home there is another sort of institution trying to get out: a community formed of people in mutual caring relationships in search of self-determination, empowerment and liberation.

John’s paper can be downloaded from The Centre for Welfare Reform’s website here

Over a number of  years John Burton, an eminent author on social care issues, has been a generous contributor of articles to the goodenoughcaring Journal.


Kilquhanity School and John Aikenhead


Though perhaps less well-known than his friend and mentor from the progressive school movement A.S. Neill,  John Aikenhead, who in 1940 founded Kilquhanity School near Castle Douglas in Scotland was a Scottish educationalist who believed children should be happy at school and encouraged to learn through their own discoveries. He did not believe that learning could be fully achieved by following without question the imperatives of external authorities. He celebrated humanity and its capacity sometimes to achieve things through first getting them wrong and as a consequence of this,  then getting them right. Hence the  Kilquhanity School motto “Freedom, Equality and Inefficiency” is not entirely tongue in cheek.  John Aikenhead, and his wife Morag Aikenhead saw the Kilquhanity School ‘the experiment in education’ through from 1940 until the school closed in 1997 when Aikenhead felt that a natural end had been reached.

You can find more about John Aikenhead  and Kilquhanity School at  and