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 

Paolo Morante

WEBSITE

I like many things related to the social sciences, arts and philosophy. I am a very curious person. I really like working with children. I currently work in Tikapata, a free school here in Cusco, Peru. I learned about Sumerhill and Neill in my freshman year. After that I read his story, contributions and some books. I really like his contribution to the world. I consider that Summerhill is a key piece to be inspired in the construction of new ways of living education.

Zoe Readhead

WEBSITE

I am Neill's daughter. I was born at Summerhill and have remained passionately involved throughout my life. I live and breath this philosophy of child-rearing, having seen it work it’s magic on children over and over again. I owe such a huge debt to my amazing father...

Reinier Bosch

I have worked at democratic schools for the past 13 years and have visited Summerhill 4 times in different settings and have always loved to be there. Every time has brought me al lot of reminders why it is so important to contribute to dem education in my own way.

Alex

I'm the art teacher at Summerhill, possibly the best job in the world! The Summerhill seed was planted in my mind when I first read some of Neill's work as a teenager (a teenager who hated school) and to me it sounded just wonderful. The initial Summerhill seed has stated to grow as I took up the position of art teacher two years ago - and its been brilliant! Prior to Summerhill I was an artist and curator, I studied BA Art and Philosophy and MA Curating Contemporary Art and worked on projects around the UK. I then began teaching, initially in a state school, then a Waldorf school and now a democratic school.

sue clutterbuck

Hi All, hard to remember back, but all our kids ended up at Summerhill and I was a parent there for about 15 years +? As a family we were very much involved with the big political time of Ofsted protest and the whole taking the Dept. of Education to court for our rights to be upheld and respected. Massive issues here and memories of children sitting all over the courtroom, on the floor, benches and the judges seats being taken over by Summerhill Big Kids. Big learnings around sharing parenting with the school in a dynamic and opening way. Like swimming naked in the pool and always staying afloat, no matter what was thrown at the school, our kids and us parents. Have now lived for 18 years in another community in the north of Scotland, Findhorn. Looking forward to seeing everyone and celebrating how deep and honest human beings can be with each other.

Jake Russell

WEBSITE

I was a Summerhill kid from 2001 to 2005. I had a hard time in French schools, having difficulties following society's rhythm. In Summerhill I could live with my own rhythm and that is what I loved about that school.