Personalised Education Now

Big thanks to Josh Gifford and his team for the second edition of P.E.N Journal. The first edition brought together some of the contributions of last years, very successful Alternative Educational Futures conference. We were delighted to be asked to contribute once again. You can download a pdf version of the journal and read our piece looking at the student experience of SML using the link below. Pen Journal 25

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Heart surgery & other operations

Heart surgery & other operations

Our resident maths & physics tutor Lars also ran two very popular dissection workshops with students this term. The first of these involved dissection of a lamb pluck – lungs, liver, and heart, all connected by the oesophagus – providing an excellent opportunity to satisfy some of the student’s natural curiosity about biology. This process introduces students to a vocabulary of appropriate terminology related to anatomy and physiology of a mammal. Drawing comparisons to human physiology, students investigate and recognise the anatomical structures and explain the physiological functions of these body systems. Learning could then extend to recognising and explaining the interrelationships […]

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Self Managed Learning made difficult

Self Managed Learning made difficult

I appreciate that the title may seem a little strange. So many self-help texts are about things “made easy”. What I want to cover here is the fact that it is quite difficult to get people to understand why we are doing Self Managed Learning. The prevailing paradigm is one where assumptions are that young people go to school to learn. The dominant model is one that I want to challenge here and I want to do that through presenting real evidence. I’m a scientist by background and therefore I tend to be interested in evidence rather than prejudiced opinion. […]

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Career direction

It’s best to know where you’re going – and why Some years ago I was working in a school running a Self Managed Learning project. In the group with which I was working there was a talented 13-year-old girl musician. She said that she would like to have a career as an orchestra musician. We looked at the life of an orchestra musician and also looked at some research on job satisfaction. The results of the research showed that orchestra musicians had a level of job satisfaction on a par with that of a prison warder. The reasons for orchestra […]

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Taking the long view

Once upon a time there was a boy in Bolton with no interest in his schoolwork. He tended to spend time with his mates or watched comedy VHS tapes that he had recorded. He gained one GCSE then after school did a series of seemingly dead-end jobs such as in the bingo hall and at the local cinema. Because he enjoyed cracking jokes and fooling around he started to do some stand-up comedy gigs in local pubs. Eventually he developed a comedy stand-up act. He was officially entered in the Guinness World Records book for the planet’s biggest-selling stand-up tour. […]

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Gaining an Arts award at SML College

At SML College we provide the facility for students to achieve an Arts Award, set up by the Arts Council to provide a route for young people to develop their creative and leadership skills and gain GCSE and AS level equivalent qualifications in the arts.  To achieve their Arts Award, students take on various challenges in an art form of their choice and create a portfolio of work with the support of an Arts Award adviser, who acts as assessor, facilitator and mentor. We provide the facility for our students to gain an Arts Award at Bronze or Silver level. Bronze […]

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What is a parents’ role in education?

What is a parents’ role in education?

Much has been written about how important parents are to a child’s education, but often the advice is not all that helpful. Here are a few thoughts on the what, how, when, where and why of education that parents might consider.   WHAT. The press and the education establishment go on about GCSEs, grades, exams and so on as the most important areas for parents to assist their children. A recent research report suggested that children doing Saturday jobs could get lower grades at GCSE. What the report did not mention is that if school students want to learn about […]

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GOING TO THE BIG SCHOOL? Choices in secondary education.

GOING TO THE BIG SCHOOL? Choices in secondary education.

SIZE MATTERS The transition from a small primary school into secondary education is an issue for many parents. There are serious choices to be made for children at this age. We know that many children feel nervous about going into a large, more impersonal school where they do not feel known by teachers. In a typical secondary school a teacher might see over 250 children in a week and cannot get to know all of them really well. In addition the national data show that schools are getting larger year by year. This issue of size is serious. The research […]

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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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How young people manage their own learning at SML College

Take yourself back to your schooldays. Did you learn everything that you were taught? Or did you sometimes daydream in class? Perhaps there were subjects that you didn’t like so you paid less attention to them – or you were even disruptive in such lessons. For whatever reason, it’s likely that the teacher ‘covering the syllabus’ did not always result in you learning everything that they wanted you to. We know that people – of all ages – like to learn in different ways. My favourite teacher in my traditional boys grammar school was the geography teacher. Because he never […]

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