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