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,


Amukta Mahapatra


It was heart-wrenching when I first read A.S Neill's book, when I was 19 yrs old! I wished that I was many years younger to have been able to be in such a school as a student. The freedom of it, the mind-space it offered enchanted me. I had done the Montessori course for 3 to 6 yrs by then and I felt that the next step for education was to bring these together... And I heard about democratic schools, when I was 45 yrs old! In between all those years, incorporated these ideas into my work, wherever I was. In the new Krishnamurti School set up in Madras, where I began my work as a teacher, after being a volunteer in a village Montessori school in Tamil Nadu. In the school for working children children of fisher folk; and resource centre that I set up for teachers working in non-formal alternative schools and NGO. Andelsewhere too. Again, when I joined David Horsburgh, an Englishman, running a school and teacher training programme (Neel Bagh) in rural India near Bangalore, A.S Neill's books were part of our study as David too was influenced by him. The ideas that struck me then and stay with me till now are - the total trust in children; seeing them as autonomous, capable beings and the careful lightness of the adult in the community.

Matthew Appleton


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

Tina Poyzer

Hello, I am Tina and I am a parent of two young men, one of whom went to Summerhill.

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.

Wiktoria Szmyt-Ligocka

Simple human being which has been a part of Summerhill for 7 years. This place has helped me figure out who I am, and realise my love for art, music and brownies. Yes.

Donyets espacio educación libre


Hace más de 30 años leíamos los textos y libros de A.S.Neill… Un poco después, fundamos el club infantil Els Donyets y posteriormente la escuela libre Donyets. Desde hace 30 años acompañamos niñxs y jóvenes de 3 a 16 años siguiendo los principios de A.S. Neill y de W.Reich así como los principios de la pedagogía libertaria. Constatamos, cómo decía Nill, que “ la libertad funciona”. Seguimos caminando…