Summerhill School

I [heart] Summerhill. If you don’t know, Summerhill School is located in the United Kingdom. It was started in 1921 by A.S. Neill and has become a role model for democratic education and youth power around the world.

Following are episodes from the UK documentary show entitled, “Summerhill.” It dramatizes the school’s struggle to stay open in the face of government pressure to conform to standards. I hope you enjoy the show and the lessons it embodies, and I’d love to hear what you think.


Published by Adam

For almost two decades, Adam F. C. Fletcher has led international outreach focused on engaging people successfully. Working with thousands of youth-serving nonprofits, K-12 schools, government agencies, international NGOs and other organizations around the world, his work spans the fields of education, public health, economic development and social services, and includes professional development, public speaking, publishing, social media and more. He founded the Freechild Institute for Youth Engagement, SoundOut and CommonAction, as well as writing more than 50 publications and 500 articles. He has also established 150-plus community empowerment projects.

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  1. I spent two hours last night watching the Summerhill movie online, thanks to your blog. I’m surprised and delighted that it’s available to us here in the US! I had friends who created a charter school in Santa Clara, CA patterned after Summerhill, so I was familiar with Neill’s concept and fully supportive. The movie is a terrific dramatization of Summerhill principles. The children were so empowered! It saddens me that we have not found a way to make this approach available to all our children. We just don’t want to give up controlling young people. It’s typical for those who are oppressed to become the oppressors, and as recipients of adultism when we’re young, it’s not surprising that we are practitioners of adultism when we’re older. I guess it will take a true leap in human evolution for Summerhill to be the standard by which we measure education. I just hope it can withstand any future attempts to darken it’s brilliant light.

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