Friday September 30 – Sunday October 2, 2022

Thank you to Imogen Hunt and the Peregrine School Community in Tasmania who  have confirmed that the ADEC 2022 conference will go ahead.

This is the outline of the plan. This information is live on the Peregrine School website.

Friday from 12 noonJoin us for some school community events, Afternoon Concert, Welcome dinner
SaturdayConference Day 1 ~ Plenary (Petter Hutton, Future Schools), Panel, Workshops
SundayConference Day 2 ~ Panel, Open Space, possible Workshops
MondayOptional Post Conference Activity: Explore the Huon
Jump on our school bus and explore the beautiful Huon Valley with us. Please note this will incur a small additional cost.

TOPICS (May include but not be limited to…)

  • Plenary: “What is the role of small independent schools in the current Australian context?”
    What are our points of difference when the mainstream is also pushing for innovation and student empowerment?
  • Panel: “During and after leaving school: How do we determine what success looks like for a student of our schools?”
    What does it mean to be successful…and how do we measure success in an alternative school context? What values are informing the question? A panel of reflections and questions for alumni, independent schools specialists, current students, parents and educators.
  • Panel: High schooling in our contexts
  • “Group Topic”: an integrated approach to curriculum
  • Kitchen garden and permaculture: catering and cooking at our schools
  • Outdoor Ed in the alternative context
  • Gender diversity and inclusion in schools

Fun skills to take home: circus play, damper making in the bush, Tassie timber woodwork session, singing with kids…

Open space opportunities to bring your own workshop

*TBC: We are interested in your expressions of interest in running or participating in these or additional sessions 🙂


The conference will be taking place at Peregrine, nestled in the Huon Valley, 35 mins south of Hobart.

Basic accommodation is available on site (camping or in the school buildings), billeting can be arranged, or arrange your own private accommodation options.

Transport to and from the event can be supported with our two school buses.  Please let us know if you will need assistance in getting to and from the airport and/or your accommodation.

Cost TBC

Registrations opening early July.  Early bird registrations closing end of July.

Come and join us for a weekend of sharing and learning with new and old friends!


Please help us with our planning by answering some quick questions and indicating your interest in attending.  Just click on the Survey link.  Thank you.


IDEC 2021 logo

The Summerhill Festival of Childhood is a community and family-friendly event that will bring together many exciting projects, collaborations, workshops, presentations and performances based on art, craft, educational and child rearing approaches, psychology, sustainability, community and children’s rights for the participants. It will also have an international conference approach and will facilitate seminars, talks and focus group discussions.
Due to the global pandemic we meet online for 2021 and in person in 2022.
Our online event will include the International Democratic Education Conference 2021 which we are proud to host. IDEC2021 is the annual meeting of the global Democratic Education community and has been organised by schools or relative organisations from various parts of the world for more than 25 years. We are also being joined by many people and organisations from all over the world and our community continues to grow every day.
Our plans for the online event include transmission of content via three channels, 24 hours a day for 6 -almost full- days in various languages. Some of the sessions will be scheduled but we also offer plenty of open space for whoever wishes to organise their own session. In addition a “world cafe” space will be available for every participant to have informal discussions if they choose. We plan to record as many of the lectures and workshops as possible so that we can stream them in different time zones in order to give the opportunity to everyone to enjoy as much of the programme as possible.
Our vision:
Celebrating 100 years of Summerhill School and the inspirations A.S.Neill has given the world.
Celebrating childhood as a critical period of time for all of us and for the future of humanity.
Our mission:
To strengthen the sense of unity amongst organisations and individuals who are promoting and actively working towards positive change within education, childrearing and community.
To maximise their global impact by functioning as an incubator and accelerator of future collaborations, partnerships, alliances and movements for a more humane and sustainable future for us all.
Our values:
Our aim is to celebrate equality, children’s rights, creativity, well being, relieving pressures from childhood and embracing the values of:
Individuality. Celebrating uniqueness, self-awareness, self-regulation and self-direction.
Play. Celebrating the importance of free, pure and uninterrupted play.
Freedom not licence. Celebrating unconditional acceptance deriving from equality and the right to be oneself without infringing on other people’s freedom.
Community. Celebrating the capacity of inclusive and supportive communities to foster personal and social development, sustainability and healthy relationships towards societal change.
Emotional sincerity. Celebrating emotional honesty as an essential condition for social emotional development and a more humane world.
The fundraising campaign
To stay true to our values and principles, we are organising our online festival to be free registration so that we give everyone the opportunity to participate. A large amount of the preparation and the realisation of our online event is based on the work of our amazing volunteers.
Still we have to cover the costs of the technical part (communication platforms, web design, technical support before, during and after the event), the promotion part and the copyright fees for the films we will be screening.
We are organising this reward based fundraising campaign to give you the opportunity to support us to make this wonderful online festival a reality, and get some lovely prizes whilst doing it.
We are offering a variety of perks from Summerhill itself, the festival, IDEC and friends, all of which contributing to support the event and to give you something lovely or a memory to treasure for your kind support.
We chose natural and environmentally friendly materials and plastic free packages while supporting small businesses and independent young artists.
Please share our campaign far and wide even if you can’t afford to support us financially. Spreading the word will give the opportunity to more people to participate in the festival.

We thank you warmly for your support and hope to see you during both our online and in person festival.


The ADEC Conference in 2021 is being hosted by 


from Sunday 26th – Tuesday 28th SEPTEMBER, 2021

Thank you Imogen for sending us this link to information about the conference so that people can begin to make their arrangements. Please share this information with your communities and friends. We look forward to being able to come together. Keep an eye on this page on the Peregrine website for further information about the conference.

ADEC would like to support two people to attend this gathering. 

We would like at least one of the sponsorships to go to a student if this is possible.

Anyone who is 
an ADEC member or part of an ADEC member school,  

a student who is studying education and though they are not a member of ADEC they are recommended by a member or member school. Please indicate who is recommending you as we may wish to contact them.

a member of the community recommended by an ADEC member or member school. Please indicate who is recommending you as we may wish to contact them.

may apply.

ADEC will cover 
The Conference fee, 
An economy fare flight and/or travel expenses
Accommodation costs support up to $100 per night for three nights.

ADEC would love to be able to support everyone but this is not possible.  We would like to make the process as open and inclusive as possible. Two members of the ADEC committee will view the applications and recommend to the committee the people they think we will support. We hope to do this asap so that you will have time to make your arrangements.
Please send your application to Chris Price and Cecelia Bradley at by 14th July 2021. Please include

A written or video communication introducing yourself and expressing why you would like to attend the conference and why you would appreciate a sponsorship.
Please include details of your Community and/or School of which you are part of and supporting and in what way. 
Please include any particular needs of your community/school.
We would also like to have a general idea of how you will share your experience with your community and with ADEC

Please be aware that in these changeable covid times we ask that when making your arrangements you make sure that you will be granted refunds if the need arises to cancel the trip.


Congratulations and Happy Birthday to Summerhill from all of us in ADEC.

Summerhill’s 100th and Festival Taster

Date: 30/01/2021

Time: 13:00-14:00 BST London time


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:

Our 1-hour online taster event will include:

– 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).

– 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.

Also, please, send us your questions about Summerhill and education in general. Our panelists will answer them! 

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


Due to Covid 19 we have had to cancel the ADEC 2020 conference at Peregrine School in Tasmania for this year. This is very sad and disappointing for all and the Peregrine Community are very keen to host in 2021 if we are all in a position to travel. This means that will not be able to hold the 2020 AGM in person. 

ADEC AGM in 2020 will be held online via a zoom meeting.

The date for the AGM is Wednesday 21st October @ 5.00pm AEST ( Summer time)

Notice about the meeting has been sent to ADEC members.

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