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 

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!

Xavier Carrillo

Congratulations Summerhill! I amb a catalan teacher in Terrassa, and I knew about Summerhill and A.S. Neill in the first course of my degree thanks to a Evolution Psicology teacher. I was shocked at the beginning and I wanted to read and learn everything about A.S. Neill pedagogy ideas. In 2006 I had the chance to visit Summerhill invited by Zoe and the agreement of community assembly. At the moment I do my best to teach in as less as possible non authoritarian way (quite difficult in our educational system).

Silas Szalai

age 13 i stumbled over neill's book ~ a radical approach in our family library. suprisingly it reflected and gave the way my dad, who was a teacher aswell, raised me a name A.S.Neill. summerhill became my vision of how i thought and dreamed a school should and can be. inspired by that i became an early childhood educator which for me is my passion and a way to transmit and implement neills ideas and methods of his educational approach. neills ideas and his philosophy of a free and individual development is the essence of a natural, healthy and positiv childhood. giving children the possibility and the right to make their own choices and to live in a community that does not evaluate but value each other. equality and love ~ sharing and caring my deep admiration and gratefulness goes out to A.S.Neill aswell to all summerhill family members and friends for 100 years. to another 100 years 🌸🌸🌸🌸 love is the law

Mario Cantinelli

1955/56 school year. This, probably the most important year in my life, shaped my whole outlook and inspired my career as a teacher.

Ni-Chieh

I've been at Summerhill since 1995~2002. I remember very well that I struggled not having my parents also learning and understand English, and was playing most of my first two years climing trees. I learned from Summerhill that you should do whatever you want in life, and achieve your goal without disturbing/distracted other people's life. It was a first a big struggle to speak out in our meetings at Summerhill, but slowly I worked my courage to speak out, becoming secretary at meetings, and eventually chairing the meeting. Now I am a teacher, teaching jewellery apprentices. I have been telling my students that we all have a different speed tread mill of life, and that also is the same with learning. So don't matter if you didn't understand the first time, just ask and we will work on how to achieve understanding together. P.s missing those sneaking out days. I remember my first year there was a big organised sneak out after bedtime, the whole house kids and two san kids(including me san kid) was included. First the san kids had to hide in the top clothes cupboards in the large girls room(now visiting again the cupboard seen so small), we had cereals, comics and our torches to keep us awake. Once all house kids finished bed time, the boys were knocking the wall(secrete knock) saying it's time to meet and decide where to go. We then decided to just go to the football field first, but as some of us got out we got caught but was not taken back to our rooms but told to. After that, all the big kids like Valen, Will, Roger and others all came out with big torches looking for us. Was so scared at the point, but now thinking back it's so funny.

Jan-Willem

WEBSITE

I graduated as a bachelor of primary education in 2015 in a democratic school. After that I fell ill, but i never lost the enthousiasm for natural learning. As a student I read one of A.S. Neill's book and that meant a turning point. Only as a theory at first but it stuck with me because of how healthy and natural this way of life is for, well everyone! Alas I did not become a coach in a dem. school, but when and where I can I love to be an advocate of the movement.