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Wicklow Sudbury School

Wicklow Sudbury School is Ireland's first democratic school for self-directed learning. In our school, there is no set curriculum or classes and no mandatory tests. Students decide what and how they want to learn and staff members act as facilitator, supporting students to achieve their goals. All decisions are made through school meetings, which are open to the whole school community, and every member of the school has an equal vote.

For more information about our school, visit our website at and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram 


We are at a crucial juncture in Ireland that could decide the future of the Irish education system. Wicklow Sudbury is part of a larger movement to create an education system that listens to students and supports their mental and emotional health instead of damaging it. As the first democratic school in Ireland, our organisation is a vital resource, and we have already helped two other democratic schools that are set to open in Sligo and Cork. 

Irish students are calling for changes to the education system. At the 2017 Dail na nOg, the youth parliament of Ireland highlighted not being listened to in school as a major problem. And a related study of Irish young people, 'So How Was School Today? ', demonstrated that student want more active learning and more control over their education. It showed that exams are a massive source of stress, and students become more dissatisfied the longer they are in school. Learning to the test is not only damaging for students' mental health, but it also means they aren't learning the critical thinking skills and intrinsic motivation that are so highly valued in today's work force.

It is clear that change is needed, and Wicklow Sudbury offers young people the option to explore their interests and spend their time immersed in their passions. We're not expecting all schools in Ireland to become democratic, but just the existence of democratic schools shows people that the traditional education system is not the only way.


There's a large demand for spaces in our school, but we're reaching capacity in our current location. Since we are not eligible to receive money from the state, expanding our student body will be the primary way that we can be financially sustainable.

It's in our long-term plans to change the policies that exclude democratic schools from state funding, but, in the meantime, we want to be able to pay our staff living wage (they are all currently working half paid and half unpaid) and offer free spaces in our school to low-income families.

Please donate to Wicklow Sudbury School and be a part of Ireland's Learning Revolution!

It started with a group of parents who were looking for an educational environment to fit the needs of their children.

Our first building was a semi-detached house in Sandyford, where our community grew to capacity in the first year. In the summer of 2017, we moved to a larger house in Kilpedder, and we gained status as an official charity. Over the course of our second year, our student body doubled in size, and we are nearly at capacity again.

Despite having a lengthy waiting list, it would be unfair to our existing community to expand much more in our current residence. We hope to be able to meet the growing interest in our school and welcome more students into our community, but we will need to relocate again before we can do so.

  • Sponsoring students – we aim to provide a limited number of free and subsidized places in our school. Donations enable us to provide scholarships and make our school more accessible.
  • Equipment and supplies, such as computers, recording tools, science materials, textbooks and resources, art supplies, toys and games, and more.

Contact Details

Ballybeg, Rathnew, Wicklow, IRELAND

Cause Registration

Revenue (Charities Unit) (CHY): 22018