Summerhill Festival of Childhood 2021

This is the latest news from the organisers of the Festival of Childhood in 2021 to celebrate the centenary of Summerhill.

Dear Friends!

We are happy to announce the greatest upcoming educational event: Summerhill Festival of Childhood 2021. The first democratic school 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?

SUMMERHILL Centenary 2021

Henry Readhead has announced that the new Summerhill Centenary Interactive website has been officially launched

A Message from Henry

In 2021, Summerhill School, the oldest children’s democracy in the world, will be celebrating a hundred years of A.S.Neill’s education and child-rearing philosophies in practice.

A.S.Neill’s work and writings have inspired millions of people around the world to look at education, learning and childhood in a very different light. He has shown that when children are given freedom to grow emotionally, the intellect looks after itself and that coercive and rote learning approaches only stifle and harm academic, creative and personal growth.

Summerhill values have been implemented for a hundred years into schools, classrooms and homes around the world and through the current global crisis, a crisis of humanitarian values and in turn education, they are more needed now than ever before. We need to focus more on social and emotional wellbeing, equality and individuality, creativity and collaboration. We need responsibility towards community and global intimacy. We need to realise the importance of childhood and its role in securing a more humane future for us all.

As A.S.Neill (1959) wrote, “the future of Summerhill itself may be of little import. But the Summerhill idea is of the greatest importance to humanity. New generations must be given the chance to grow in freedom. The bestowal of freedom is the bestowal of love. And only love can save the world.”

This Idea we want to preserve and share through inviting everybody from all over the world to celebrate our centenary as well as their own contributions towards a more compassionate world. For this purpose, we created our centenary website, an inclusive, warm and interactive website, through which you can engage with the following 3 main areas:

Personalisation Join the global map of friends of A.S.Neills Summerhill School and share your personal inspirations, experiences and work. We are also inviting everybody to join in the celebrations by taking on a ‘Project’, personally or as a team, school, classroom, family etc. We at Summerhill have already started an array of projects; including podcasts, stories, walks, photography, gardening, climbing and much more.

New Insights into Summerhill School We have also opened our doors offering never seen before content about community life at Summerhill including; the learning environments, games, events, committees, a historical timeline and a look into ‘A year in the life of Summerhill’.  We are also going to be running a weekly blog about lovely things happening within the school community from now until the end of 2021.

The new A.S.Neill Archive and Research Centre Within the last hundred years there has been a large national and international demand to visit and experience Summerhill from teachers, schools, educationalists, researchers, students and parents. There has also been a great number of requests for support towards the development of new projects around the world seeking to learn from Summerhill’s extensive experience of community-, freedom- and democracy-based education. To meet this demand, which is only set to grow with the approaching centenary and beyond, we plan to build a dedicated centre which will host meaningful visits and partnerships for study, sharing knowledge and innovation and will have the facilities to reach out to many more people around the world. We will also be cataloguing and archiving a very broad range of materials, records, manuscripts, minutes, diaries and photographs for long term public benefit. You can support the development of this exciting project by filling in our Development Questionnaire and/or contributing to our Fundraising campaign.

We are looking forward to seeing you all on our centenary website and joining us in our events and celebrations from now, all the way through 2021 and beyond!

The Summerhill community has asked us to

Please spread the word widely about this to our ADEC community and the wider community.

As you will see on the website there is the opportunity to develop a project either individually or as a group and share that with others around the world. There have been initial discussions about how ADEC might participate in the celebrations in 2021 and would love these to continue and develop ideas. We had planned to try to bring them together at the ADEC 2020 conference but in these uncertain times about what we will be able to do by October maybe we can set up an online process? If anyone is interested in this idea please contact Chris and Cecelia.

Stay well.

APDEC 2019

Currambena is celebrating 50 years this year. Currambena and ADEC are hosting the Asia Pacific Democratic Education Conference, APDEC 2019, in Sydney as part of the recognition of that. It will be held at Naamaroo Conference Centre, Lady Game Drive Chatswood, from 15th – 20th July, 2019.

The ADEC2019 conference for this year will be part of this event so please come and join in APDEC 2019.

The website is now live and Registration is open, (though some categories are still to be posted) so I encourage you to check it out and take advantage of the early bird rate if you are able to make it for the whole week. There is more to add to the website as we go along so please check in regularly.

APDEC2019 website is

There is also a Facbook page

Registration Form for ADEC2018 Conference

The Registration Form for the ADEC2018 conference, which is being held from
28th – 30th September 2018, is up and running on the Pine Community School website.
The program will be available in the coming weeks.
Hope that many of you will register and look forward to seeing you in Brisbane.
The link for the website is
Details are also at :


Hello & welcome to the new year
Isn’t it great to belong to a community with others that value & further democratic education for children.  To nurture this community ADEC holds an annual conference so ideas can be shared and the community enlivened.
The 2018 conference is being hosted by Pine Community School in Brisbane on 28-30 September.  Mark the dates in the calendar so you don’t miss out; because it won’t be the same without you.
We will spend the weekend thinking, talking, listening and being “community, connection and celebration”.
Look out for further information about the weekend in emails, on the ADEC website and facebook page.  Share this invitation to attend with your school community, colleagues and students.
Nerida Jaaniste
Pine parent on behalf of Pine Community School

School Closure Threat

Some of you will remember Gab Macintosh and her school, Blacktown Youth College who were part of our group from the beginning. We lost touch with Gab for a number of years but this year we have been in touch again and I learnt that she had set up another school called Eagle Arts and Vocational College with three campuses in Broken Hill, Western Sydney and the Central Coast. Gab has been keen for the school to become part of ADEC. As with BYC, the students at these schools have often had troubled histories within their families, their education and some with the justice system. Gab has always been one to champion them and try to find ways to enable them to change their lives and create some educational paths ways which work for them. The school recently has had the disturbing news that the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) has decided to close them down. Like all these situation the story is long and complicated but is very upsetting and perplexing for the school community especially as they have had 5 inspections in the last 18 months and just two weeks prior to the final negative inspection they had passed an inspection.  Gab told me that she had written an article for the local paper and this was apparently reported to the board and they came for another inspection virtually the next day. It was this inspection that prompted the judgement that they were not a proper school. Gab has not really been able to establish why one group of inspectors’ decision was completely overturned. The school worked with a compliance expert and even this process did not result in a change of decision. In fact any attempt to allow time to work on issues or work on appeals has resulted in the decision being brought forward.

Gab is aware that other small alternative schools have also been having more difficult processes of inspection and wonders if some change of culture has occurred within the Authority which is now making it much harder to comply?

Gab has sent a request of support from ADEC. She mentioned three possible ways we might be able to do this.
In the past Gab has been successful in getting the media to respond to issues about the schools but at the moment no one is responding to the story at all. She asked if anyone has any contacts in the media who might be prepared to listen to the story and give it some attention to please let her know.
Letters of support to the politicians and bureaucrats would also be appreciated. We agreed that the people to focus on are the Premier, The Minister for Education and the Shadow Minister for Education, the Treasurer as he is the local member for plus the local members of Broken Hill and Central Coast.
The school is considering a protest gathering outside Parliament House on 21st Nov and they would appreciate if others felt able to join them in support. This is not definite yet but I will keep you up to date if it is going ahead.
Cec will draft letters from ADEC but I am sure that Gab and the school communities would also appreciate it is any other individuals and other schools wrote as well.
Some Contact details
Phone (02) 8574 5000

Fax (02) 9339 5500
Contact the Premier

Perrottet, Dominic In his capacity as Treasurer, and Minister for Industrial Relations:

Phone (02) 8574 6900
Fax (02) 9339 5550
Contact the Treasurer
Stokes, Rob In his capacity as Minister for Education:
Phone (02) 8574 6707
Fax (02) 9339 5554

Humphries, Kevin In his capacity as Member for Barwon:

Phone (02) 6792 1422Fax (02) 6792 1466

Tesch, Liesl In her capacity as Member for Gosford:

Phone (02) 4342 4122
Fax (02) 4341 2368
Foley, Luke In his capacity as Member for Auburn: and as Leader of the Opposition
Phone (02) 9737 8822
Fax (02) 9737 8844
Dib, Jihad In his capacity as Member for Lakemba: and as Shadow Minister for Education
Phone (02) 9759 5000
Fax (02) 9759 1945