Neill, Alexander

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Portrait of Alexander Neill (click to view image source)
Alexander Neill
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Neill, Alexander Gender: M
born on 17 October 1883 at 23:00 (= 11:00 PM )
Place Forfar, Scotland, 56n38, 2w54
Timezone GMT h0w (is standard time)
Data source
Quoted BC/BR
Rodden Rating AA
Collector: Wright
Astrology data s_su.18.gif s_libcol.18.gif 24°14' s_mo.18.gif s_taucol.18.gif 18°01 Asc.s_leocol.18.gif 06°36'


Scottish educator and champion of free self-development in the education of children. Neill was the author of "Summerhill: A Radical Approach to Child Rearing," 1960 and is considered one of the most extreme and radical of the progressive British schoolmasters.

The fourth of thirteen children, he was the son of the village schoolmaster, a stern, puritanical man who ruled over his classroom and wielded the strap as punishment. At age 15, Neill began working as a pupil teacher under the guidance of his father who expected him to use the strap on the other children. He attended Edinburgh University where he earned his degree in English in 1912 before becoming a journalist. Eventually he became head of the Gretna Green School where he formed his revolutionary ideas on freedom for children and wrote his first book, "A Dominie’s (Schoolteacher’s) Log," 1916.

Soon becoming dissatisfied with traditional education, he began a community school near Dresden, Germany in 1921. Experiments in optional attendance, a school parliament, flexible curriculum and no religious instruction brought opposition from local authorities, and after several moves, he finally established the progressive co-educational Summerhill School in Leiston, England, which became its permanent home.

He married twice, first to Frau Neustatter who worked for the school. He later married Ena who ran Summerhill after his death. They had one daughter, Zoe, who took over as head teacher and continued to implement her father’s vision of allowing children to live their own lives.

Neill died in 1973.

Link to Wikipedia biography


  • Death, Cause unspecified 1973 (Age 89-90)
  • Work : Published/ Exhibited/ Released 1960 (Book released)
  • Social : End a program of study 1912 (English degree Edinburgh University)
  • Work : Published/ Exhibited/ Released 1916 (First book released)
  • Work : Begin Major Project 1921 (Started a community school)

Source Notes

Paul Wright collection, B.C.


  • Family : Relationship : Number of Marriages (Two)
  • Family : Parenting : Kids 1-3 (One daughter)
  • Notable : Famous : First in Field (To implement teaching changes)
  • Family : Childhood : Family large (Thirteen kids)
  • Family : Childhood : Order of birth (Fourth of thirteen)
  • Vocation : Writers : Columnist/ journalist (Journalist initially)
  • Vocation : Writers : Textbook/ Non-fiction (Educational changes)
  • Vocation : Education : Teacher (Experimental educator)
  • Vocation : Education : Administrator (Schools, two)
  • Personal : Death : Long life more than 80 yrs (Age 89-90)