We know a lot today about how children and young people learn - for instance we know that they are all different. Yet school still assumes that students will learn the same things, in the same way, at the same time. Research has shown that this is not the case and many young people feel unprepared for life in a fast changing world by the time they leave school.
The digital and creative sectors are the fastest growing in the South-East yet employers complain they cannot find employees with the skills they need - creativity, collaboration and ability to learn new things - and even graduates with good academic degrees are not guaranteed jobs. Whilst employers turn more and more to Arts graduates to find the skill-set they are looking for, creative subjects continue to be sidelined in schools.
If we really want our children to be prepared for life in the 21st Century, perhaps it’s time to look at a more progressive approach to learning.
Self Managed Learning (SML) is a research-based approach developed in the late-1970’s. Since 1980 we have applied and rigorously evaluated the method in a wide variety of contexts. We have run SML programmes with many organisations – the Bank of England, the BBC, Sainsbury’s, British Airways and the NHS, to name a few.
The Self Managing learner determines what, where, when, how and why they will learn. Learning is structured and supported but there is no predefined syllabus or curriculum. Our research has shown that this is the most effective way for people to learn. Taking responsibility for one’s own learning and learning to learn are vital skills in a fast-changing world.
The SML approach values learning with others and collaboration. There are three elements at it’s core: the Learning Community, the Learning Group and the Learning Agreement. This structure supports the demands of individuals and organisations for the 21st century. You can read more on this in our free ebook.
SML College is part of the educational charity, the Centre for Self Managed Learning. We have been providing SML programmes for young people at SML College in Brighton for 15 years. The College is a vibrant learning community that offers a real alternative to schooling. We provide a stimulating and nurturing environment where students can develop the confidence and skills they need for the future. Whatever they want to learn a way is found for them to do so. Our students feel well prepared to take the next steps in their careers when they leave the College. Results for students of all abilities have been exceptional, with ALL of our 16 year olds having gone on to further education or employment.
SML College is inspected every three years by East Sussex County Council as part of approving us as an External Training Provider. In this capacity we ran an educational programme for the Council and have worked jointly with the University of Sussex to run educational programmes in two secondary schools in East Sussex. These programmes were independently evaluated by the schools and the programme in Uckfield Community Technology College was the subject of an award-winning dissertation from the University of Brighton. A published article on the Uckfield programme is available as is the research report. (Please email email@example.com if you'd like a copy of the article.) SML College has taken students funded by most Brighton and Hove schools as well as running programmes in two of the schools. Brighton and Hove City Council has also directly funded some students. Other Councils that have used our services include London Borough of Harringay, Portsmouth, West Sussex and Jersey. Independent evaluations by universities have shown the educational value of our approach.
Following a positive visit from Ofsted in October 2016 the Department for Education has agreed that SML College is not a school. Our unique position allows us to operate outside the constraints of school regulations such as curriculum requirements.
If you’d like to visit the College and find out more about our unique approach, please send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org for information on our regular Open Days.
We work as a learning community where the role of staff is to support the students in learning what they need to lead purposeful adult lives. Key features of the College are mutual respect, collaboration, helping and supporting each other.
We support our students in deciding for themselves who they want to be in life and how to achieve it. We assist them in deciding what they need to do to pursue their goals and future careers. The structure we provide facilitates this process.
The main criteria for any young person joining us are - does the person want to be with us – are they keen to be part of our learning community - and are they likely to benefit from being with us? If these criteria are satisfied after an initial meeting, we invite prospective students to join us for a trial week at the College. This allows them to experience SML first-hand and helps everyone to know if it's the right choice for the student. We run trial weeks for up to two students at a time on selected term-time weeks only. These weeks are free and without obligation on either side.
If a place is offered and accepted the student may join us at the start of the next new term. Our next entry point for new students will be September 2018, after the Summer break.
Peter Humphriesformer headteacher
`I cannot think of a more secure, supportive and caring atmosphere in which to learn. On every visit to the SMLC, on any occasions I have spoken with youngsters and parents at conferences and so on I have been so impressed with the working atmosphere, and the total dedication and care of the staff team.`
`Lilly has attended SMLC from age 11 to 16 and has been very happy. She has been allowed to and shown how to manage herself and her learning. She can pursue subjects that interest her and to the level that she wants with the support of the College and it's tutors. We are very grateful to have such an innovative, forward thinking College on our doorstep.`
Emily Charkinhistorian and philosopher at the Institute of Education, London
`The college has a national and international reputation as one of the rare examples of a place which is providing families with a real and positive alternative to main-stream schooling. I visited a few years ago and was extremely heartened that such a place exists - where young people have the opportunity to self-educate in a supportive mixed-age environment.`
If you'd like to know more about the SML approach and our work at the College please email us for a copy of our free e-booklet that explains everything in more detail. You are also welcome to drop into one of our regular Open Days, have a look around and meet members of the community. Please call for details on 01273 987629.
You are also welcome to drop into one of our regular Open Days, have a look around and meet members of the community. Please call for details on 01273 987629.