Welcome to Wicklow Democratic School
Ireland’s first democratic school for self-directed education
just a school
We strive to be a caring and empowering community where democracy, self-directed learning and a dedicated staff team support students to pave their own chosen paths in life.
Lighting a fire
As educators, our job is not to tell young people what to think, but to help them learn how to think for themselves and provide an environment that gives them the best chance to find the kindling that will ignite their passions.
Through a balance of challenging and cherishing, students are supported to follow their curiosity and take control of their own learning journey.
About Wicklow Democratic School
Wicklow Democratic School is Ireland’s first democratic school for self-directed learning. Students at our school are free to determine their own learning path and structure their days in whatever way works for them, with the freedom to play and to fully immerse themselves in their passions and interests. We recognise the importance of mental and emotional well-being, and our community has built a culture of respect and restorative conflict resolution. Our students develop intrinsic motivation and learn to live their own independent lives based on their individual goals and aspirations.
Wicklow Democratic School is located in
Ballybeg, Rathnew, Co Wicklow, A67 PW18.
Make a Donation
Help support educational activities throughout the year at Wicklow Democratic School by making a donation
“Since the moment my daughter started in WDS, she has gone through a metamorphosis. It has been the true making of her. She is learning rapidly, devouring information, very enthusiastic about school and planning her bright and exciting future. This would not have happened if she’d stayed in mainstream school.”
“In today’s world where there are dangers to our children through bullying, peer pressure and exam pressure, democratic school offers an alternative. Our daughter is no angel, but she has so many strong qualities that if nurtured properly and she has the right learning experiences, who’s to say that she won’t change the world for the better. At Wicklow Democratic School, she will have the opportunity to do that.”
“Wicklow Democratic has given our son the freedom to dive deeply and uninterruptedly into doing the things he loves to do. He can be as physically active as he needs to be, as social as he needs to be, whatever it is he needs to be, learning each step of the way to know what that is and trust it. We all know that’s how the school functions, but the actual reality of having that freedom and experience to grow into one’s thoughts, interests, beliefs is an unmeasurable, ultimate learning for being and for life.”
A couple of years ago, (it feels like about a decade more than that!) a number of students were complaining of...
Renewing a Sense of Ownership So here we are, after the decision to go with another three weeks of school closures, at...
A few years ago, myself and other members of the school community were invited onto an episode of David McWilliams’...
Who would have thought that when we went off for winter break, it would be spring before we’d be back together again?...
While the rest of the country has been slowly reopening over the summer, Wicklow Democratic School has been preparing...
One Monday morning at Wicklow Democratic School, a number of students knelt around a fire pit in the schoolyard. It...