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 

Mauro Amarillo

Soy docente de Pedagogía Social en el Instituto de Formación en Educación Social de Montevideo, Uruguay. Tomamos a las ideas de AS Neill como precursor de propuestas pedagógicas antiautoritarias y las enseñamos en el Curso de Pedagogía Social 1

Phoenix Education

WEBSITE

A UK charity collaborating with your school community to activate student and teacher voice, agency and autonomy. We collaborated with Summerhill School on the 2018 Freedom to Learn Forum.

ASSOCIAZIONE GORILLA

WEBSITE

Inspired by the experience of Summerhill and by A.S. Neill literature, we, educators, specialists and friends, founded Associazione Gorilla with the aim to offer children and teens the opportunity to experience Freedom through self-government. We are based in Rome and the revolutionary impulse of Summerhill reaches us vigorously!

Montserrat Ortiz

When I was 16 years old, I started questioning the validity of traditional teaching, which was solely focused on the purpose of memorizing data with no meaning to myself. Talking with a teacher I had back then, she recommended me reading the book by A.S. Neill, this book showed me a different way of learning based on my own interest and abilities. Throughout my life I have been teaching in different academic levels from Highschool up to Masters degrees, always applying the methods I learnt form A.S. Neill as much as the system allowed me to, helping the students to discover their own interests. Now I have a daughter teaching at Summerhill, and she has taught me so much more about the method, and I keep adding it to my own way of teaching.

Martha Neighbors

My 5 years as a Summerhill kid shaped everything about me. To this day (45+ year since I left!), my Summerhill family is the most important to me beyond my husband and children. My time there shaped my ability to adapt to new environments, to refuse to be quiet and accepting, to question, and to not be afraid to move on from situations that don't make me happy. Now I serve on the AS Neill Summerhill Trust, hopefully giving back a tiny speck of what Summerhill has given me. As I sit here in New York City, epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, Neill's phrase "freedom, not license" resonates more than ever. I hope we can still all see each other at next year's 100th reunion.

Jason Preater

I was a teacher for a few years. It was a great experience: sun in the classroom, the creaking staircase, bonfires on the field and long walks along the beach. I love Neill's idea that you can leave kids alone and let them sort out problems themselves. Unfortunately, Summerhill is still a special place where that can happen. The rest of the world is completely bonkers by comparison. "More school!" parents cry. Of course, I can't complain because I make money out of it, but that doesn't mean it isn't nuts.