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 

Alex Farcet

Summerhill changed everything, there was a huge difference in my life before and after. Responsibility, freedom, creativity, community, friendship, all this between the ages of 11 and 14. I tell people I dropped out of school and climbed trees for two years, then I decided I should go to class. What an awesome level of freedom and responsibility at such an age, although why should that be so unusal?

Zoe T

My daughter started at Summerhill in September 2019. Prior to that we were unschooling for a year and following and nurturing our daughter’s passions and interests. Finding Summerhill was a dream come true! It is a magical place and I am inspired by the philosophy of the school and the impact it has had on the world.

Phoenix Education

WEBSITE

A UK charity collaborating with your school community to activate student and teacher voice, agency and autonomy. We collaborated with Summerhill School on the 2018 Freedom to Learn Forum.

Renee Sandler

I worked at Summerhill as a houseparent in the late 1980s. The experience of seeing how freedom and democracy worked for children changed my life and led to a career working in democratic schools and then becoming a psychotherapist. I am now working on a PhD in Social Justice Education that explores the idea of decolonizing education in government schools in South Africa (where I am from) through democratic schooling. I am looking forward to attending the 100th birthday celebration next year.

Ian Lambden

I'm lucky to have been a student at Summerhill from 1988 to 1994. Summerhill has a huge (I think positive) impact on how I live my life. This is especially true at the moment as I have a three year old boy and he will be starting school in September. I try to give him as much freedom as is possible for a thee year old and his upbringing will be greatly influenced by my time at Summerhill.

Alina Gentimir

I've just watched Summerhill movie exactly in a day with a lot of discussions to my job(Alexandru Ioan Cuza University) about my students' evalations after pandemic crisis. Always have tried to cultivate freedom in my boy and my students' minds, to help them to find themselves and to grow everyone in his/her rhythm. Over the years of teathing human rights I have tried to change the mentality and the system....in order to avoid so many broken spirits between young people. I am convinced that everyone has a special potential and this one will assure individual and collective success.