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 

Mike Weimann

WEBSITE

I visited Summerhill School with a group of children's rights activists (http://kraetzae.de/schule/england/) and as a follow-up to this we later hosted IDEC 2005 in Berlin (http://idec2005.org). We were so happy to have Zoe Readhead there. She then became an important part of our documentary movie "Democratic Schools" (http://democratic-schools.com). These three occasions are only the tip of the iceberg called Summerhill! Without Summerhill my life would have been completely different. (I don't want to imagine!)

JoanB

I first read about Summerhill when I was training to be a teacher and was immediately captivated by Neill's ideas. It would be true to say that all my dealings with children since those early days have been informed and influenced by Neill's perspective. I was delighted to discover in 2016 that the school was still operating and required an English teacher; I am still here.

Hank Khost

Around 1990 I gave my then 15 year old son, Alex, a copy of A.S. Neill's book, Summerhill. He devoured it, loved it, internalized it, and it determined the course of his life. Since then, Alex has: founded a democratic school (The Teddy McArdle School), lectured on education and child rearing in far-flung places such as Turkey, become a factor in the American ASDE (Alliance for Self Directed Education) editing their Tipping Points Magazine, co-founded the kids run "play:groundNY",and now teaches at New York's Brooklyn Apple Academy. Alex also visited The Summerhill School a few years ago and had a great time interacting with the students and staff.

Suzu Toyama

I’m current student at Summerhill, I’m 14, and I’ve been here from 2016. I’m doing 100 podcast as a project. So have a look if you’re interested! I’m having the best childhood I could ever imagine to have!!!! I can’t describe unless you have experience here! It is so miracle that I met Summerhill, and all these people here. And I feel so lucky to be able to come here. Summerhill gave me the choice and the time, and place to look for myself, which I’ll keep looking forever:) And I feel that Summerhill has taught me how wonderful and important it is to make decisions for yourself , for my own life, and to take responsibility, and to experience real freedom, and how it’s ok to fail. Also made me realize my life is infinite, that I can do anything if I wanted. And I have right to do what I want if it doesn’t effect others. And it’s the most important thing that myself and everybody else is happy. Summerhill will stay in my heart forever and ever and everrrrr!! I hope in future, more children can have better childhood and feel freer and happier and infinite in their lives. love Summerhill and thank you Summerhill for still existing today💛 peace

Matthew Appleton

WEBSITE

Ex-houseparent. Now psychotherapist. Time at Summerhill influenced my work now with adults and children.

Pera

WEBSITE

I attended Summerhill School from 2002 go 2012. This is where I discovered my love of learning, love for life, and my passion for making the world a little better in any way possible. This is why I studied popular music in college and university, started writing, performing, and recording music in my band Raz then entered the education sector as a music teacher with a Post-16 PGCE but working in public secondary schools, bringing a piece of Summerhill spirit with me wherever I went through being open-minded, respectful of everyone, and promoting the love of music. I continue to draw and write in my spare time and upload music and lifestyle videos to my YouTube channel.