Welcome
to our interactive
centenary website

Celebrating 100 years of Summerhill School and the inspirations A.S.Neill has given the world. Join our wider community, share your own story and create a project or two. Also please enjoy new, never seen before insights into our school.

1921-20021 Celebrating a centenary A.S.Neill's Summerhill School

Have a look around.

Welcome from
Zoë Neill Readhead

Welcome to our new centenary website which is commemorating one hundred years of A.S.Neill’s amazing school.  Founded in Dresden, Germany in 1921 Summerhill has survived against all the odds, having been pilloried by the press, misrepresented by the media and harried by Her Majesty’s School Inspectors throughout its history. Add to that the constant battle with financing and it is amazing that it is still here, not only surviving, but thriving!

Never in his wildest dreams could Neill, Neill Orange Peel have imagined that Summerhill would reach such a ripe old age – or that it would be as influential as it has been throughout the world. 

Almost weekly I receive emails saying, not that people have read my father’s books and enjoyed them – but that they have read my father’s books and IT CHANGED THEIR LIVES!

Summerhill’s hundred years give all of us a chance to celebrate the philosophy that Neill created and also to perhaps try to spread the word and find ways of sharing what we have been doing here with more people and schools worldwide.

This website has been created to celebrate interactively with all of you.  We encourage you to get involved and to tell us just what A.S.Neill, his books and his ideas have done for you or how they have affected you in your own life or that of your school.

Please make sure that you go and check out the pages about our proposed A.S.Neill Archive and Research Centre. This is a very exciting project that will enable serious research into educating the ‘whole’ child, the importance of childhood in its natural sense, and how a ‘Neillian’ education can prepare young people better for the world they live in. So, a truly sustainable education for a newly sustainable world.

It will also provide a professional standard archive to ensure that Summerhill and everything that makes it so special will be preserved for the next hundred years!

We will need some help with the financing of this building, so anything you can think of or feel you may be able to do to help with this would be amazing.

Enjoy the site, don’t forget to raise us a glass of champagne on New Year’s Eve as the clock strikes midnight into 2021 and we hope to see many of you at some of our events.

Best wishes to all,

Zoë 

Ni-Chieh

I've been at Summerhill since 1995~2002. I remember very well that I struggled not having my parents also learning and understand English, and was playing most of my first two years climing trees. I learned from Summerhill that you should do whatever you want in life, and achieve your goal without disturbing/distracted other people's life. It was a first a big struggle to speak out in our meetings at Summerhill, but slowly I worked my courage to speak out, becoming secretary at meetings, and eventually chairing the meeting. Now I am a teacher, teaching jewellery apprentices. I have been telling my students that we all have a different speed tread mill of life, and that also is the same with learning. So don't matter if you didn't understand the first time, just ask and we will work on how to achieve understanding together. P.s missing those sneaking out days. I remember my first year there was a big organised sneak out after bedtime, the whole house kids and two san kids(including me san kid) was included. First the san kids had to hide in the top clothes cupboards in the large girls room(now visiting again the cupboard seen so small), we had cereals, comics and our torches to keep us awake. Once all house kids finished bed time, the boys were knocking the wall(secrete knock) saying it's time to meet and decide where to go. We then decided to just go to the football field first, but as some of us got out we got caught but was not taken back to our rooms but told to. After that, all the big kids like Valen, Will, Roger and others all came out with big torches looking for us. Was so scared at the point, but now thinking back it's so funny.

Effie Latifi

I am a mother of two boys aged 11 and 5 and we live in Athens, Greece. Seeing the devastating effects that the typical educational system can have to children leading them to lose any interest on learning or at the other extreme making them grade and success hunters while compromising their natural curiosity and inclinations made me look for different approaches to education. The forest school Pefkites in Athens introduced me to the Summerhill ideas and now the more I read about Summerhill the more I realise that this is the kind of education children throughout the world need and deserve. Democratic practices and an environment that allows the children to unfold their personalities and experiment with their creativity is in my opinion the healthiest base that ensures that children will live their childhood while learning and thus will become openminded and full of empathy adults. I am inspired to look for like minded parents and educators in Greece to see if we can make a school based on the Summerhill principles. I strongly believe that the Summerhill approach should be widespread. As a mom I am doing my best to trasmit these principles to my sons and hopefully inspire them.

Gözde Atalay Kokkoris

I am a creative drama and physical theater teacher as well as a performer. I've been working in different schools and projects with children, teens and adults since 2004. I've been always interested and fascinated with the unpredictable 'nature' of human beings, the life surprises and the beauty of the differences. So I've made a research and I've started to work with the creative potentials of our untamed parts, the power of mistakes and the illusions of failure. A vast field of discovering new tools for the evolution of education. I've heard beautiful comments about Summerhill School from different students who participated in my pedagogy workshops '' Creative Potential of Failure''. They were sharing their experiences from Summerhill School projects or gatherings. So I am very curious and interest for this beautiful community.

Mario Cantinelli

1955/56 school year. This, probably the most important year in my life, shaped my whole outlook and inspired my career as a teacher.

Ζωή Μαυράκη

I a mother of an 8 years old boy.. And also an italian language teacher. I am among those who believe that the greek educational system must be reformed. Is a system very strict for children and the real interest for education is not transmitted. Furthemore is a system that doesn't promote and ecourage the inclinations that all children have by nature. I wish a school like Summerhill were in Greece.

Lissa Paul

I'm a professor in a faculty of education in Canada, and I teach about Summerhill in the context of a course on educational philosophies. By training, I'm actually a literary scholar (with a PhD in English literature) and a children's literature specialist.