About Us


From parents:

Every month our daughter was getting more relaxed, happy, smiley. All stress, depression, and darkness gone. She was so happy to come to school, which was very unusual for us…At WDS, she is somebody. Everybody can hear her, see her, not like I had; in a hundred students, we were just a number. She is a person here and she can grow.”

“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. We are so relieved the education system is finally, ever so slowly, starting to change.”

“From a mothers perspective, I have watched my son try to survive in mainstream school to thrive in Wicklow Sudbury in a very short space of time. His self esteem has definitely increased. In Wicklow Sudbury a student’s voice is heard and respected. Conflict resolution practices in place in this school are more in line with how we as a community could resolve our differences.”

“As my son nears the end of his Wicklow Democratic School life, we are in awe of his wholly self-directed approach to all aspects of his life. He has a confident and self-assured manner, no doubt engendered by the considerate and inclusive dynamic within the school. He is well able to articulate his feelings and opinions,”

“The staff members are second to none, they give time, love and support to each child and with that leadership, you see the children behaving similarly with each other. The education they are receiving there is at the cutting edge. First and foremost, the children emerge feeling lovable and capable, and with that, anything is possible. What the world needs is more humans who truly love themselves, have confidence in their innate ability to create,  and can relate to other humans in a kind, mature and respectful way. After this, everything follows beautifully!”

“The school has given [our son] the freedom to dive deeply and uninterruptedly into doing the things he loves to do, for his entire day and week if he wishes. 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.”

“Often we grow by stages and I was surprised that they don’t grow like that in WDS – they grow in a very continuous way and I think that’s very important. I think that’s a good sign, when you have the opportunity to grow all the time.”

“To not have to divert energy to the humdrum nature of conventional schooling and all that comes with that, has had a huge knock on effect for our whole household.”

“Wicklow Democratic is a creative learning school. It respects the opinions of all students and facilitators equally. Most importantly, the kids are heard and respected as equals.”

“[My daughter] has blossomed very quickly from a very anxious student to a happy and bright young teenager.”

“I recall my fear of trusting that the Democratic school method would work, and have learned through my son what actually being self-directed means. We have all learned from him.”

From students:

“There is no divide or hierarchy between the adults/staff and students, and even between the younger and older students. In WDS, we’re all a big family, we understand each other and listen to each other’s needs. We get that we’re all human. In mainstream school, there was no community even if the teachers said there was. I knew hardly anyone and I was too afraid of the teachers, or they had no interest in the students. And even between students, it’s looked down upon to socialise with people from a different year to you. You were seen as weird. Anyone one year younger than you might as well have been a newborn.”

“I love that I get to choose what I want to do. That I get all the say I want in being able to explore my interests and trying out new things. I also get the opportunity to make time for the things I really want to focus on.”

“I like to play music, work on art, go on walks with my friends, and take part in the activities that go on for most of the day. To me that means a huge amount, not only to develop my own interests and find things that are important to me, but to do it in a safe and loving community.”

“I like to spend my time doing art, playing music and socialising with friends and staff. It means so much that I have the freedom to have control over the things that I want to pursue in school.”

“I love being able to get the chance to learn how to run all the different clerkships, which are full of extremely valuable skills to acquire. Being in charge of different domains in the school can be really fun and empowering, we really get to choose what happens and if we don’t like something we can change that. We have the power to totally reform the school if we really wished! As well as being able to propose we get to go on a school trip to climb a mountain on Thursday and get fluffy socks for all the students when it gets cold.”

“I love the freedom that we have. If you don’t like something or if you want to get something that will improve your experience you can change that and it’s great.”

“I have friendships with people both older and younger than me that I otherwise wouldn’t know if the age restrictions of traditional school were in place. These friendships are very important to me as there is so much to learn from those around me of all ages”

“I love having the freedom to do whatever I want to do. To explore all that I desire and that I learn from literally everyone and everything. That I get to connect with others and have a community. That I have the space to grow into myself.”

From alumni:

“There’s no such thing as failure. Every experience is just a learning opportunity.”

“Democratic school healed the thing of looking for approval from authority figures. I see everyone as human rather than being intimidated by power dynamics.”

“In WDS, you bond with people out of shared interests, not out of shared trauma or against authority like in mainstream.”