We are pleased to introduce some interesting and established figures who already promised their attendance. We will extend this list bit by bit.

David Gribble

Born 1932, London, England; educated at Eton and Cambridge, receiving a BA in Modern Languages in 1956. At Cambridge he edited Granta magazine and wrote for the Footlights revues.
After teaching for three years at Repton, a highly conventional British boys' boarding school he left to find more congenial employment at Dartington Hall School, a famous progressive school, where he stayed, with occasional short interruptions, for the best part of thirty years. His four children were all educated at Dartington.
When Dartington Hall School closed in 1987 he joined two other teachers and a score of children to start Sands School, which has further developed Dartington ideas.
He retired at the age of 60. in 1992, and since then has visited democratic schools all over the world and written a number of books, two of which have been translated into German (Considering Children, translated as Auf der Seite der Kinder, and Real Education: Varieties of Freedom, translated as Schule im Aufbruch). He has given talks in Japan and Thailand as well as many European countries.
He was one of the founder participants in IDECs and has attended nine of them. He also runs IDEN, the International Democratic Education Network, which is a website with a data-base of people and organisations ( It also sends out occasional newsletters.
He plays mainstream jazz rather badly on the piano and the tenor sax, composes crosswords and spends a lot of time with his eight grandchildren.
He lives with his wife, Lynette, in south Devon, between Dartmoor and the sea.

Zoe Readhead

Born November 1946 at Summerhill School, Leiston, Suffolk, daughter of A.S.Neill the school's founder. Brought up using "self-regulation" and educated at Summerhill. Married to Tony Readhead, local farmer and have four children: Amy 32, William 31, Henry 28, Neill 18 – all attended Summerhill. Two grandchildren, Amy’s children – Jasmine, 8, and Joshua, 6 both attend Summerhill. 1985 – Took over as Principal at Summerhill where the learning curve was extremely steep! Today I lead a very busy life at Summerhill doing day-to-day school things, though I always wonder exactly what it is that I do for a living! I still find time to enjoy Classical dressage on my new Spanish horse and learn classical singing. My main accomplishments in life are being able to light a really good camp-fire and peeling oranges like a professional! I am also a pretty good dancer.

Yaacov Hecht

Founded The Democratic School in Hadera, Israel in 1987 and served as its principal until 1997.
Initiated the first IDEC - the International Democratic Education Conference - in Israel in 1993.
Was adviser to Israeli minister of Education - Mr. Yosi Sarid in 1999.
Established The Institute for Democratic Education in 1995 and has since then served as its chairman.
The activities of The Institute for Democratic Education:
Operates the Incubator for Entrepreneurship in Democratic Education.; Supports 30 Israeli Democratic Schools (over 5000 students).; Operates democratization programs in more than 200 regular state schools.; Coordinates the regional program The City as a Democratic Learning System in ten different residential areas.; In charge of the Academic Department of Democratic education in Hakibbutzim College in Tel Aviv.; Coordinates the Forum Hawadi project - one of the main programs for education for peace in Israel.; The International department - make Lectures and workshop worldwide. Led individual and groups How to build an Institutes for Democratic Education in different countries.;

Jerry Mintz

Jerry Mintz has been a leading voice in the alternative school movement for over 30 years. He has a BA from Goddard College, and a Masters in Teaching in the Social Sciences from Antioch New England Graduate School.
He worked as a public school teacher and a public and independent alternative school principal for 17 years. He founded several alternative schools and organizations and became the first executive director of the National Coalition of Alternative Community Schools, serving from 1985-1989. In 1989 he founded the Alternative Education Resource Organization which he continues to direct, and is Managing Editor of its networking magazine, The Education Revolution.
He has lectured and consulted with schools and organizations in the United States and around the world, including Russia, the Czech Republic, France, England, Israel, Denmark, Holland, Ukraine, Japan, Austria, India and New Zealand.
He had been a keynote speaker for many conferences. He was a founding member of International Democratic Education Conference and has helped organize and spoken at many of them, including the one at Stork Family School in Vinnitsa, Ukraine, Summerhill School in England, Tokyo Shure, in Japan, Christchurch, New Zealand, and Bhubaniswar, India. In 2003 AERO co-hosted the IDEC in the United States for the first time. Over 90 schools from 25 countries and 25 states were represented. He has been a guest on numerous local and national radio and TV shows, including NPR's All Things Considered, and Talk of the Nation.
He has hosted two national weekly radio shows, one on the Talk America Network, the other on the Cable Radio Network. He was recently on Fox News Network's Hannity and Colmes Show. He has published hundreds of articles and studies on educational alternatives. He was Editor in Chief for the Handbook of Alternative Education, which lists 7300 educational alternatives. It is a first-of-its-kind, and has been published by Macmillan. The paperback version, the Almanac of Education Choices, was published by Macmillan/Simon & Schuster. His new book is called No Homework and Recess All Day - How to Have Freedom and Democracy in Education.

Derry Hannam

Derry Hannam is a Visiting Fellow in student voice issues at the University of Sussex Centre for Educational Innovation.
He was a teacher practitioner of student participation in all aspects of secondary school life for 21 years.
He has advised the DfES, QCA, the Council of Europe, OBESSU, LEAs, and UK NGOs, (such as the Citizenship Foundation, CSV, Schoool Councils UK and the NSPCC) on school student participation as part of education for democratic citizenship.
Recent work includes a pilot study for the DfES to explore associations between student participation in secondary schools and achievement, exclusion and attendance, and a study for QCA on ways in which students? perceptions of the curriculum can be communicated to government.
He is currently managing the ?I Was A Teenage Governor? project to develop school student participation in school governance.
He has spoken and written widely in this field both in the UK and internationally.

Gerhard Huhn

Dr. Gerhard Huhn, born in '45, studied law in Berlin. During his studies he spent long periods abroad in Sweden, Switzerland and the USA. At 28 he became Vice President of Sales for an American cosmetics firm in Switzerland. Returning with a lot of formative experiences behind him he completed his degree and his doctorate with a thesis on "Creativity and School".
After further professional positions as an independent lawyer and publisher, he works today as a management consultant and trainer. He has been concerned with the practical aspects of research into the brain for more than 25 years, especially with the implications for learning processes, motivation and creativity.
From 1992 to 1997 he was a visiting lecturer at the University of Art in Berlin, in the Department of Social and Corporate Communications, since 1996 he is a visiting lecturer at the Free University of Berlin in the Department of Media Research and Computer Based Training.

Royston Maldoom

Royston began his career as a choreographer in 1975 when his first work gained the "Foundation of France Prize for Outstanding Artistic Achievement". He subsequently mounted work for the Dance Theatre of Harlem, New York, the Scottish Ballet, the Irish National Ballet, the Ballet Nacional de Peru and many other smaller professional ballet and contemporary dance companies in the UK and abroad.
In 1980 he was appointed Dance-Artist-in-Residence for Fife Regional Council, Scotland; one of the first such positions in the UK. During three years he produced many workshops, summer schools and festivals and set up youth and adult community dance groups.
Following a period as Dance Research Officer for Stirling District Council he moved to London and began to work more internationally in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Oregon (USA) as well as in Lithuania during the independence struggle and in Croatia and Bosnia during the Balkan conflict.
Royston worked with former street children in Ethiopia, marginalised children in Peru, Catholic and Protestant youth in Northern Ireland, male and female prison inmates, children and adults with learning difficulties, young people excluded from mainstream education, and children in exile as well as in many primary and secondary schools, and vocational dance colleges.
He worked extensively in Germany as choreographer for the European Youth Dance Festival in Duisburg, the Deutsch-Britische Jugend Tanz Austausch in Berlin from 1989 to 1991. He was guest choreographer to the Ballet Department of the Hochschule für Darstellende Kunst, Frankfurt, and has worked with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.
The Berlin project with 250 children (film "Rhythm is it") was the most recent in a series of works for orchestra which included the London Symphony Orchestra, Ulster Orchestra, Scottish Chamber and Symphony Orchestras, Natal Symphony Orchestra and several chamber orchestras and choirs.
His "Rite of Spring" has been performed in Addis Abeba, Duisburg, Berlin (1990 and 2003), Lima, Belfast, London, Vilnius, Glasgow and in many schools and communities in the UK.

Other speakers

→ List of all speakers in the public conference (part B)