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20/01/2021 Join our FREE Online Taster!

Dear Friends,

This year Summerhill School is celebrating its centenary. For 100 years Summerhill has offered a vision of education and childhood that has inspired educators and parents around the world. 

To begin this year-long celebration we are holding an event where you can find out about the history of Summerhill, listen to some educational experts discuss the BIG questions facing education today and learn about the Summerhill Festival of Childhood. 

Those who attend the whole event on Zoom will have the chance of winning a FREE ticket to the Summerhill Festival of Childhood 2021!

Format of the Taster Event:

– A talk about the Summerhill School Centenary by Zoe Readhead, Henry Readhead and guests.

– A Panel of four world renowned education experts (see panelists below).

Our 1-hour online taster event will include:

– A presentation introducing the Summerhill Festival of Childhood.

– Lottery for a free festival ticket.

Where and when?

The event we’ll be held online via Zoom on Saturday 30th January at 1-2pm (UTC). Please use this link to join us:


Taster Event Panelists:

Peter Gray

Psychologist, researcher, professor of psychology. Author of “Free to Learn” which explains how releasing the instinct to play makes our children happier, more confident and better students for life. Professor Peter Gray also writes a popular blog for Psychology Today called “Freedom to Learn” which explores the roles of play and curiosity as foundations for learning. He is a well-known critic of conventional educational systems and a founder and current board president of the Alliance for Self-Directed Education. He is also a founder and board member of Let Grow.

Ian Cunningham

Founder and Chair of Governors of Self Managed Learning College in Brighton, England. SML College is a unique organisation that supports young people (aged 9-16) in managing their own learning.

He is the author of 7 books and over 100 published articles and papers. His latest book, Self Managed Learning and the New Educational Paradigm was published in 2020. He was an organisation development consultant for 40 years and is also a skilled welder and metal sculptor.

Kate Robinson

Founder-Director of Nevergrey. Kate Robinson is an international consultant in creativity and innovation in education. Kate’s expertise lies in raising the profile of inspiring initiatives, with a particular focus on startups and building strong partnerships with a social purpose.

Her passion lies in engaging youth voice, and through this work has been awarded for Outstanding Contribution to Education Empowerment.

Zoe Readhead

Principal of Summerhill School in Suffolk, England.

Zoe is the daughter of Alexander Sutherland Neill who was the founder of Summerhill School, where she grew up. She was born at Summerhill and has remained passionate about the school throughout her life. She has been the principal of Summerhill School for 35 years and she lives and breathes Neill’s philosophy of child-rearing, having seen it work its magic on children time and time again.


Join our free online Taster Event! We hope to see you there!

20/12/2020 Good reason to book your Early Bird Ticket

11/12/2020 Early Bird Tickets are available

Early Bird Festival Tickets Now Available!

This has been a tough year for all of us so put these dates in your diary and give yourself something to look forward to. The Summerhill Festival of Childhood is taking place from 6-11th August 2021.


(If the festival is postponed due to COVID, your ticket will be valid for the new dates. If you can’t make the new dates, a refund will be given.) 

We are working hard to bring something very important to our new post-COVID world, so we hope you will join us in our excitement and help make this festival the most memorable and historic childhood event this century. 

01/12/2020 Website of the Festival is available!

We are happy to present the Festivals Website with all the details!

15/11/2020 Check out our festival e-shop!

Festive Greetings! 

Everyone in the festival team sends you warm wishes for the holiday season. 

For stocking fillers, you could check out our festival e-shop, where you can buy everything from branded water bottles, to caps, t-shirts, mugs and hoodies.

Happy holidays and a wonderful 2021 from all of us!

17/10/2020 Happy Birthday, A.S.Neill!

The 17th October would have been A. S. Neill’s 137th birthday. Every year Summerhill students make their way to the cemetery where Neill rests, to show their gratitude and respect for the man that created the school they now live in and love.

Happy Birthday Alexander Sutherland Neill!
Your legacy lives on and inspires students of education and education innovators all over the world.

16/10/2020 Seeking Volunteers

The Summerhill Festival of Childhood is looking for volunteers to help with an exciting project, whatever time you can spare, even if just 1 hour per week.

International Connections

We are looking for ambassadors from as many countries as possible. Their task will be to promote the festival in their country translating the official posts to their mother tongue and maybe helping with organising some smaller fundraising events.

Site Volunteer

We are looking for dedicated people who would be willing to join our team on site and help during the event. The organisation for that will start from around April.

Join us!

Even if you can only spare an hour a week we’d love to hear from you. We’re a friendly team  from all over the world organising this event via Zoom.

Please fill in this form  https://forms.gle/cJhqJzS34WyCt2zN6 if you’re interested and/or join this Facebook group to express your interest: https://www.facebook.com/groups/2058064314297394

Thanks!

09/09/2020 Location of the Festival

Wow! Friends! We’ve got exciting news. The location of the Festival is set. We are happy to present Peakhill Farm.

This picturesque spot, just 2 miles from Summerhill School, hosts a wonderful annual musical festival, so campers will be in safe hands!

Peakhill Farm can host up to 5000 people. We’re expecting between 1000 – 3000 so we’ll have plenty of space – 25 acres (plus a 10 acre car park) at our disposal. Children and adults alike will be able to enjoy this beautiful, comfortable open air campsite, and you’ll be able to decorate your pitches creatively too.

Transport to and from Summerhill School will be provided but for those who prefer to walk, it will take 35-40 minutes.

11/08/2020 Visit to Summerhill

In a year, we will all be lucky enough to have a look at Summerhill with our own eyes.  For now, we ask you to read and see how it looks through the eyes of Alexander Khost, an activist and practitioner of self directed learning from ASDE.  As luck would have it, he is helping us organize the upcoming festival.

You can read about Alex’s visit to Summerhill here

07/08/2020 Festival of Childhood. Who is it for?

Summerhillians – students, teachers, parents, graduates, who are excited about celebrating the centenary of their school!

Also… Fans of Summerhill – friends, partners, democratic educators.

But also… All people, who touch the school somehow and think, that classic system doesn’t work any more:  students, teachers, parents, educators, collage and academic students…

No doubt that it will be useful and joyful for… All the people who experienced childhood and understand its importance!

03/08/2020 I’ll be there…

We’re so excited by the amount of interest being shown in the Summerhill Festival of Childhood 2021. Here are just some of the people who will be there, including our wonderful video editor volunteers, James, Katia and Nastia. We thank them so much for their videos!

If you’re interested in coming to next year’s event of the summer, please join us in making a quick video to introduce yourself. We’d love to see you…

Simply film yourself or a friend on a phone saying, “Hi, I’m [name, country, maybe 1 phrase about yourself]” and, “I’ll be there because [1 reason]”.

The fiddly bit is to draw a tree on your hand and show it at the end (it’s fine without it but even better with the drawing). Then upload it as a comment to our Facebook post

Thanks so much. Can’t wait to meet you in person next summer!

27/07/2020 Zoë Neill Readhead, reflects on the effects of the Covid-19 lockdown on learning and the education system.

Parents are beginning to realise that perhaps the old-fashioned approach to education, which has been the basis of our system for more than a century, is not meeting their children’s needs in every way and could indeed be a limiting factor. 

Perhaps at last, it will be time to create some completely new methods of schooling that can help children to grow into more relaxed and happy individuals who truly value themselves for whatever skills or personal traits they have – and perhaps society will begin to value those individuals as well.”

You can read the full article here

22/07/2020 Dates are settled!

We are happy and proud to present the official logo for Summerhill Festival of Childhood!

The logo was created by our amazing volunteers, talented designers Taline and Elena.

The logo is like a metaphor for the Summerhill Festival Team – each volunteer is like a leaf on this tree, we are people from all around the globe united by a dream of changing the world!

Here is the story behind our logo as told by our design group:

“We wanted our logo to be based on ideas of fun, spontaneity, imagination, freedom and growth.

We chose to use the image of the old, mythical tree at Summerhill, fondly know as the Big Beach, which is located near to Class 2.  For us, trees symbolise natural, spontaneous growth.  And this particular tree at Summerhill is the source of much tree climbing fun! We flattened the shape and drew in a doodle style to reflect magic and playfulness.

The bird represents both freedom and the idea of spreading the Summerhill experience all around the world. Birds don’t know about borders.

17/07/2020 Dates are settled!

Dear Friends! 

We have some AMAZING NEWS!!!
Finally the dates are settled and the documents are signed!  Please mark in your calendars that you are totally and absolutely unavailable for all activities between 6th and 11th August 2021 because the Summerhill Festival of Childhood is happening!! 

These 5 days are now officially booked for happiness, joy, hugs, jokes, serious discussions, songs around the campfire, dancing, meeting new friends, playing and exploring the world of childhood!

13/07/2020 A very serious announcement …

The oldest children’s democracy in the world, founded by Alexander Sutherland Neill, is celebrating its centenary!

Watch this video to see how much fun you could have if you decide to attend the event! Henry, Deputy Principal at Summerhill, makes an announcement from the top of a tree and a team of international volunteers, who have been inspired by idea of the festival, help him in their fun and creative ways… Almost 100 volunteers are already preparing this festival for all of those who respect kids rights and believe in the importance of childhood.

We have created several pages (links below) that you can follow.  Here you’ll get all the information about the festival and you’ll get to learn about the organisational set up of the festival – it’s a huge, democratic, international, online process run totally by volunteer force!  That’s amazing, isn’t it?

09/07/2020 And then, there was Summerhill …

In 1915 there were three official ways to hit children, to make them obey, to force them to learn what authority told them… That was accepted all over the world. 
But there was a young man who disagreed with these methods. His name was Alexander Sutherland Neill. 

That’s how Summerhill School was founded and in 2021 it will celebrate 100 years of practice. 

Let our celebration become your celebration too! 

Join us on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Twitter to know more about Summerhill School and A.S.Neill, and to find out all information about the upcoming educational event of the century: 

Summerhill Festival of Childhood in Summer 2021!

Hope to see you there!!!

05/07/2020 It has started…

These days it is hard to make plans even for the next 5 days. So we (as very logical serious people!!!) decided to plan… next summer’s huge centenary celebration of Summerhill School!)))

And it appeared much easier than to plan this summer ))) Surprise!

We already work on this event!