Imagine a school…

Where kids have freedom to be themselves…

Where success is not defined by academic achievement but by the child’s own definition of success…

Where the whole school deals democratically with issues, with each individual having an equal right to be heard…

Where you can play all day if you want to…

And there is time and space to sit and dream…

…could there be such a school?

founded by A.S. Neill..

A.S. Neill’s Summerhill

summerhill site

A.S Neill’s Summerhill School, a co-educational boarding school in Suffolk, England, is the original alternative ‘free’ school. Founded in 1921, it continues to be an influential model for progressive, democratic education around the world.


wikipedia small


post on history of summerhill (at 90 yrs old) and some former students:

summerhill article


Nathalie Gensac

Nathalie Gensac

Gensac runs an educational charity raising money to help women and children in the developing world. She lives in Santa Barbara, California.

Until she was nine, Nathalie Gensac was home-schooled by her parents while they were travelling the hippy trail to Morocco. “Then they heard about Summerhill and it absolutely fitted their ideas,” she says.

Living in a small, inter-related community “means you have to take responsibility for your own actions, and that means everything from the clothes you wear to how you treat others. All that decision-making can be hard at times. Neill’s bottom line was that you could have freedom, but not if what you did interfered with others’ freedom.”

Gensac mostly went to lessons but remembers missing a couple of science sessions, then apologising. “My teacher said, ‘It doesn’t matter but it’s your loss.’ That really made me think.” She left Summerhill at the age of 15 with nine O-levels, including three science subjects.

Taking A-levels wasn’t really an option at Summerhill because there weren’t enough teachers to offer a wide enough variety of subjects, so Gensac went elsewhere. “There were people at college who disapproved of me because they thought I must have grown up with no discipline. One A-level teacher rounded on me when I disagreed with something he was saying and shouted: ‘I suppose you are the kid from Summerhill.'”


Summerhill School – Euronews

oct 2012:


suggested read for more on former students:

After Summerhill, Hussein Lucas