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,


Marthese Morris

A primary school teacher for over 20 years. This spring I read the book neil neil orange peel and loved it. My twin sister Joanne visited summerhill school last summer ..I was suppose to join her but dates collided with family events. I love being a teacher but I see a gap between schooling and education. Sometimes the gap is so big that I question our work day in day out.

Michelle Smith


We are working to emulate summerhill in maputo, mozambique

Zoe Readhead


I am Neill's daughter. I was born at Summerhill and have remained passionately involved throughout my life. I live and breath this philosophy of child-rearing, having seen it work it’s magic on children over and over again. I owe such a huge debt to my amazing father...

Stafford, Terry


I read Neill's Summerhill when I was in high school back in the 60s. At that time I wanted to be a student there. I went on to study Montessori because I was impressed by her respect for children's ability to know what they wanted to learn. I only lasted a couple of months in the first Montessori school I worked in, as I realized that I didn't want to follow anyone else's dogma. At that point I started a small alternative school in my basement that lasted four years in a time and place where people didn't believe in educational freedom for children over the age of six. For about 13 years I've run Wildwood, offering stress-free educational enrichment (that "enrichment" word means that parents can't accuse me of missing subjects!) I'm currently living on a lovely island where I'm hoping to create a new Wildwood centre.

Wai Lok Ng

I wish children are left to play and choose their own paths instead of being forced to a spoon-fed education that doesn't even connect with the modern world. And I am surprised the first day I learned about Summerhill. The educational ideas are revolutionary but yet traditional, returning to the person for their education. I hope to promote these ideas and assist in the revolution of education to be more democratic and person-centred.

Lotte Kreissler

Hello everyone! How long can I write here? :-) I read Neill's book at the age of 15. Since then I have been and stayed inspired and my life, and I myself, has/have been influenced and also changed not only by the ideas, but also since I came to Summerhill in 1986 for the very first time. Started then working in a democratic school in Vienna. Since 1987 I have attended some of the international conferences in Summerhill in the summer, I observed, saw, felt, inhaled...the athmosphere, the spirit, I had wonderful conversations, met wonderful people.. Got to know David Gribble in 1989, became friends with him and his wife Lynette, heard from him about the conference in Jerusalem in 1993 where we met Yakov for the first time, and in Hadera, the IDEC was born. In 1995 we organized the third IDEC in Vienna. I can impossibly tell everything, takes too long, but briefly, since those years I have been spreading ideas, have offered workshops, have worked with young people for more than 30 years, have initiated meetings and parliaments with them and engaged in democratic discourse, also with educational institutions and state institutions where these ideas were strange and also rejected... In all these years I have been meeting people on the way and have always wholeheartedly agreed with David and Lynette that this was the most important thing, to learn from them, exchange, laugh with them, and spread insights and encourage others to trust children and to love children - not more and not less. and am now doing the same things with 4-6 year olds.. I am very happy to attend and participate in the Festival of Childhood in Summerhill this summer, after a very long time, it feels like coming home to a community I have not found anywhere outside, Thank you for everything!