A.S.Neill Summerhill CIC is looking to facilitate, conduct and disseminate research that can radically transform the landscape of education, childrearing and community and inform robust action towards a just, healthy and sustainable world. Our research activity is divided in two main categories:

  • Facilitating research happening at Summerhill School and the upcoming A.S.Neill Archive and Research Centre.

We are currently responsible for the filtering and initial processing of research proposals to be conducted within the Summerhill School community. We will also be facilitating research at the upcoming A.S.Neill Archive and Research Centre which will collate, catalogue and preserve more than a century’s worth of archive materials some dating from before the school’s foundation. It will also act as a living archive of Summerhill School itself, constantly producing and preserving unique information about community life within the oldest children’s democracy in the world.

  • Conducting research and forming research partnerships.

From time to time, we will be conducting research projects focusing on broadening and affirming the spectrum of credible well-being focused educational and childrearing methods. We will also be forming partnerships on interdisciplinary and multi-paradigmatic research projects looking to validate and share forward-thinking practices.

Research topics

These are some of the research topics we are interested in:

  • A.S.Neill writings
  • A.S.Neill’s background and early life
  • Summerhill’s origins
  • Summerhill’s community archive: meetings, laws, court case etc.
  • Freedom not licence
  • Free play
  • Risk taking & personal development
  • Incidental learning
  • Motivations 
  • Social & emotional development
  • Self-governance
  • Emotional connection & responsibility to community
  • Self-awareness, -regulation and -direction
  • Non-compulsion within education
  • Students’ voice
  • Childrens’ rights
  • Or other topics deriving from fields such as: citizenship education; sustainability education; social anthropology; sociology of education; educational, social or community psychology.

To discuss a research proposal, get in touch with us through the form below.


Summerhill School, Leiston, Suffolk, IP164HY UK

Tel: +44 (0) 7984 144598

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