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,


Derry Hannam

Neil and Summerhill have been the central inspiration of my life's work as a teacher and educational reformer - and still are!!

Montserrat Ortiz

When I was 16 years old, I started questioning the validity of traditional teaching, which was solely focused on the purpose of memorizing data with no meaning to myself. Talking with a teacher I had back then, she recommended me reading the book by A.S. Neill, this book showed me a different way of learning based on my own interest and abilities. Throughout my life I have been teaching in different academic levels from Highschool up to Masters degrees, always applying the methods I learnt form A.S. Neill as much as the system allowed me to, helping the students to discover their own interests. Now I have a daughter teaching at Summerhill, and she has taught me so much more about the method, and I keep adding it to my own way of teaching.

thomas hours

Zoe s asking us to share what Summerhill has brought to us. I will try with humbleness. I'm not neurotic. I haven't done great exams ex Alevel or olevel. I tried to blend in the french education without success. But luckily i'm a civil servant and have lifetime job in the medical research field.I enjoyed playing in the theatre. Boom had nice stories. Playing, sports feeling free.

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.

Mark Vaughan


I was at Summerhill for about 2 years with my two elder brothers in the 1950s; the spirit of the school and Neill's approach to children and to their education has stayed with me all my life, in both a personal and professional capacity. I think Neill, Zoë, and the staff, have made a seminal contribution to the way that adults teach and relate to children; this contribution resonates around the world. In 1972 I was lucky to be able to interview Neill and write about him and Summerhill for three education journals in the UK, the US and Australia. Later in 2006 I edited the Open University Press book on the school and have been secretary of the A.S.Neill Summerhill Trust for 20 years; during this time I have also organised the contracts for overseas publishers to translate and issue Neill's books. I am very happy to be involved in several projects to help celebrate the school's Centenary in 2021.

Maria Tsouknaki

Its very important what you propose for the education. Love, democracy, freedom of choises, creativity, critical thinking. I work with children for more than 20 years teaching art and creativity and I feel always as a kid, I beleive I can learn a lot from children.