John Aitkenhead

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This article is about the Scottish teacher. For the Scottish footballer, see Johnny Aitkenhead.

John Marchbanks Aitkenhead (21 May 1910 – 26 July 1998) was a Scottish teacher and co-founder (along with his wife Morag McKinnon Aitkenhead) of Kilquhanity School.

Born in Glasgow, he attended Eglinton School and Ardrossan Academy before completing degrees in English and Education at Glasgow University. He worked as a secondary school teacher in Argyll, Glasgow and Ayrshire. After spending two terms as an observer at A. S. Neill's Summerhill School, but there being no vacancy on the staff, he decided to found his own free school in Scotland.

Kilquhanity School, near Castle Douglas, south-west Scotland, opened in 1940, as both a boarding and day school. With some difficulty, Aitkenhead gained recognition as a conscientious objector, enabling him to continue the work. The school operated continuously until closing in 1995.


Obituary: John Aitkenhead. The Independent, 21 August 1998