Thoughts from India

I am in Bangalore to attend and run a session at, this year’s International Democratic Education Conference (IDEC). I used the opportunity to arrive early to talk with some teachers and especially to gain insights into the current situation here from Amukta Mahaptra, who runs SchoolScape based in Bangalore. (Amukta is also the convenor of this Conference and is well known in India for her work.) Overall the picture here is very similar to what is happening all over the world. State-run schools are very traditional, classroom-based and totally teacher led. There is minimal room for young people to have […]

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Learning without classrooms

Learning without classrooms

200 people gathered at the Freedom to Learn conference at Summerhill School on 6th, 7th and 8th of May. I ran a workshop on different ways of learning particularly focused on learning without using classrooms. I generally find when talking with many people about learning that they have a bit of a blank in thinking of alternative ways of learning which don’t require the classroom. Somehow an approach which doesn’t need any classrooms can seem aberrant. The reality is that the classroom is a rather odd alternative that has been relatively recently created in human history. For most of the […]

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Shakespeare would have been proud

On the evening of 27 April, a full house was treated to the SML College production of Romeo and Juliet.   Looking at the programme, all of the students of the College were involved in some way, and,  It was evident that a lot of work had gone into bringing the play to the audience. In many ways, it was a typical production, with several last-minute substitutions and understudies being vaulted onto the stage at short notice. In other ways, this was not your typical Romeo & Juliet, a play that is known for being a tragedy.  However, Shakespeare was also […]

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The SML College Production of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet

The SML College Production of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet

Review by Lee Turnbull Arrival of the parents was the most terrifying part of the whole production, student excitement turned to anxiety within the first five seconds of everyone assembling. Our production was chaos turned to comedy, Monty Python would have been proud. Notable performances as follows: Everyone forgetting lines and putting their own words in, students mixing up their scenes and arriving early or late. A useless prompt who couldn’t help me ( Benvolio) resulting in my having to run backstage to get my script! Ochre as Juliet on her knees to Mayan (Lord Capulet) begging forgiveness, lost her […]

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Glyndebourne youth opera performance

Glyndebourne youth opera performance

by SML College student, Flo Gordon I have loved classical singing all my life. When I was young, I was in a school choir, but unfortunately, the school closed down. In my new school, there was a choir but it was all musical theatre and pop which I wasn’t particularly interested in. Then in year 4, my mum signed me up for a small workshop at Glyndebourne. I was quite scared because I thought Opera was only for posh, fat women in massive gowns, that shatter wine glasses with their voices. But, when I went to the Glyndebourne workshop I […]

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Inspiring day at SML College!

Inspiring day at SML College!

Thank you to everyone who came to our Open Day yesterday. Some of you traveled quite a distance and we really appreciate you taking time to visit. It’s encouraging to meet so many parents / carers & young people who feel that the traditional school setting and one-size-fits-all educational model are no longer fit for purpose and that there has to be a better way. Even more encouraging is that so many of you believe that managing one’s own learning & being part of a democratic community are the way forward.   Special thanks to all our students who helped […]

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October Open Day Invitation

Wednesday 19th October, 2-4pm With the Autumn term now well under way, we’re looking forward to our first Open Day of the season. Our Open Days are very informal, drop-in events where you can meet and chat to some of our current students and parents, as well as tutors and governors. There won’t be any ‘presentations’ and our community members will answer your questions in a totally unscripted way so you can be sure you’ll have some interesting & authentic conversations! If you’ve read our free ebook* and are interested in finding out more about our unique approach to learning, […]

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Charley’s art workshop

Charley’s art workshop

  Last Thursday Charley came into SMLC to give an Art workshop on dreams and nightmares. She started by giving us lots of magazines and scissors. Then she told us what ever picture that looked interesting to us to cut them out and put them on a black background. We could make what ever would be in our dreams or nightmares. I made a picture about evolution. It was about how we came from a fish to animals and a picture of every animal I could find. I was quite happy about how it all came together. I think Charley […]

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Visit to eco-architects ARCH angels

Visit to eco-architects ARCH angels

One of our students, Jack, is interested in considering architecture as a career so along with tutor Gillian, a visit to local eco-architects ARCH angels, was arranged to find out more about their work. They chose ARCH Angels because they have an emphasis on Green Architecture and are working on some interesting projects.  They are also extremely local being just around the corner from the College and we are keen to make connections with the local community. Here’s what Jack had to say about the visit. “Archangels are a Brighton-based architecture firm. Their main ethical focus is being environmentally aware. […]

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