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,


Rachel Willan

I was a pupil at Summerhill in the late 80s , early 90s and have so many good memories of being there , I was about 14 when I started there and left at 18

Klára Koubská


Summerhill school visiting week was an exciting experience that has changed my perspective of education forever. The concepts of freedom, responsibility, friendship and acceptance are much stronger and more meaningful in Summerhill than wherever else in the educational world. Thank you for being so inspirative!

Montserrat Mejía Ortiz

My name is Montse. I studied pedagogy in Mexico. In university was the first time I heard about A.S. Neill’s philosophy, and I fell in love with it. I’ve been working in Summerhill school since 2015. I started as the house parent in the house (kids 10-12 years old) then move to Class one teacher and house parent in the San (kids 5-8 years old). I love all the positions I worked in with all kids and being part of the community! Now I’m class one teacher!

Miao Chen


I love summerhill

Erwin García


Summerhill and A.S.Neill's ideas have inspired me to know and work more on self-organization of learning and self-directed education.

Charlotte “Candy” Landvoigt


I read Neill’s famous book when I was a Junior in College. I can still remember vividly where I was sitting as I read the life changing words. My husband and I later travelled to Summerhill in 1969. In 1981 we founded The Highland School, a democratic school inspired by Neill’s work. Over the years, in addition to working at our school, I became a play therapist in private practice. Through nondirective play therapy, I watched children bravely overcome many difficult problems on their own. After several years, one of our school staff learned about Sudbury Valley School and our entire school included many principles of the Sudbury philosophy - especially all democracy all the time. We decided to become an international boarding school with our own dormitory in 2004. I read Neill’s Summerhill again for more inspiration. I also studied John Dewey for my doctoral degree and wrote a dissertation on his concept of the child. Coincidentally, I first learned of Dewey from a Science teacher at Summerhill when we visited in 1969. Years later, his advice to trust children’s experience was fundamental in creating our school. Today we are unable to have our school due to Covid 19. We plan to reopen in the fall (2020) if the law allows. I have written a book about children’s rights and fully democratic schools that rests on the writing of A.S. Neill, John Dewey, Dan Greenberg, Paulo Freire and Virginia Mae Axline. It also leans heavily on my experiences over 40 years with children and members of The Highland School. My path through all the adventures in these years began with Neill’s Summerhill. His example and, in recent years Zoe Redhead’s practical vision for Summerhill, have enriched my journey in democratic education.