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 

Kata Molnar

I'm a Spanish teacher, I've been teaching for more than 20 years now, but I left state schools soon and opted for private teaching and language schools as I've been too free spirited for standard education. I met with Neill's ideas on a University course and since I've had my children I've been looking for an education out of the box for them, something like what Neill did. And it was to my biggest surprise that Neill's school has been there since 1921 as I thought it was some kind of an experiment and ended long ago. So we packed and here we are, all my children getting a Summerhillian education that fits them most, our best decision ever.

Robin Catchpole

My dad went to Summerhill, I realise a little more every day how important this is to me. Xxx

Jay

I never know how to start presenting myself! Although I do not seem shy to many, I can be quite shy... This is Jay, I'm from Brazil but living in Europe since 2007; the first 8 years I was in London, and now I'm in Sandnes, Norway. In 2016 I started a part-time Master Program in Educational Research through Rudolf Steiner University College in Oslo (I am not a Steiner teacher, my background in teaching before starting the Master had been in the sport of judo). During the master program, I was given a paper to read and had to prepare a lecture to my fellow students (Saffange, 2000). The paper is all about Neill! Feeling that I would be a failure to lecture about A.S. Neill without touching down at Summerhill ( I still feel I know nothing about 'this man'), I flew from Norway to England for a day visit. The game changed completely: instead of writing my thesis on a Sports' topic, my topic surrounds Democratic Education; my research questions were inspired by a boy (not sure if I can mention his name here) who was playing in the sandbox at Summerhill during that first visit. My second visit was during the 'Summerhill Experience' in 2019, where many enthusiasts like me gathered together to live as a Summerhillian for 5 days. I have said this before and I'll repeat it here: for me, going to Summerhill is like going home; a home that every child has the rights to have . Since then, I have met many wonderful people who are genuinely fighting for the rights of children to be agents of their own lives from young age: citizens of today, not citizens in construction. So I will always be thankful for having met Neill, Summerhill, and everyone who carries the legacy ahead to remind us what is possible (and impossible!). P.s.: In the picture, I am Chaplin (I got very happy when I discovered that Neill was a fan of Chaplin too, so thought it to be a nice profile pic to have!)

JunHee Kim

WEBSITE

I have attended Summerhill from the age of 8 for 8 years from 2011. I am now studying music, which Summerhill has helped me pursue. I am planning to carry on my education in music to university and start a PGCE course to spread and inform places and people of the many elements of Summerhill that has had effect on me.

Song

I am the mother of two children. I have read many books in the process of raising children. I have read "Summerhill School" and "Graduate of Summerhill School" twice. Summerhill's Approach, including social & emotional development, the meeting and laws, play, community life, learning, is attract me deeply. I see that children are born to be good. The learning effect based on internal driving force is very different from the learning effect instilled by parents. Children’s creativity is far beyond our imagination, as long as we believe in them, they have the ability to manage themselves well. I am happy to learn that on the 100th anniversary of Summerhill School, they envisage to accommodate a variety of educational programmes, courses, events, research projects and other activities offering an in-depth understanding of the Summerhill values in relation to education, community and humanity.

michael collins

I read the book and knew deep inside I had to get to know Summerhill. I was insisting and in the end Zoe accepted that I come and stay at the school for 14 days. These days changed my life in many ways. I got to know the children and the staff at the school and I felt like a part of the family. Thank you so much everyone for inviting you into your life. I am so grateful for everything I could contribute with. The treehut, the playground, the ladder to BIG BEACH. Thank you... I haven´t been back to the school for a while, but you are all with me in my heart. A deep thanks to you Zoe. I have told so many children (and adults) in Denmark about Summerhill and the all want to go. I am sure the story about Summerhill have inspired them on many different levels. I am looking forward to my next visit. I want to go see you all soon. Much love from me.