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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An exciting new role at SML College – College Programmes Coordinator

A key new coordinating role is available at Self Managed Learning College (SML College), to assist in taking our work forward. SML College is unique in supporting young people to manage their own learning. Our students decide for themselves what, how, why, where and when they want to learn. Our role as adults in assisting this learning is subtle but crucial. Our democratic style means we don’t have a principal, head teacher, director or anyone controlling the day-to-day operation of SML College – indeed, we don’t have any teachers as such since we don’t have any classrooms.  We now need […]

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Learning, not education

Learning, not education

This title may seem a bit bizarre. After all, most people in authority believe education is a good thing and there are organisations attempting to create compulsory education worldwide. The basis for this is the idea that there is an entitlement to education for young people. So I have to explain what I mean by ‘learning, not education’. My fundamental stance is that humans are crucially learning creatures. Human babies are born with the least range of inbuilt abilities of any creature. Babies have to learn hugely the first few years of their life and even then they are not […]

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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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Excellent outcome from Ofsted visit

One morning last October we had an impromptu visit from two Ofsted inspectors at  SML College, Brighton. The lead inspector spent some time quizzing most of the students on an individual basis. He asked about what they did and how the college ran including the times which they attended. The Chair of Governors in the College, Dr Ian Cunningham, explained to the inspectors that the College did not have an imposed curriculum, it had no classrooms or formal lessons, no timetable, nor any other of the arrangements found in school. After the lead inspector had spoken to students he commented […]

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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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The Twelve Days of Christmas at SMLC

On the first day of Christmas, the students gave to SMLC Unlimited super-fast broadband for free On the second day of Christmas, the students gave to SMLC Aira’s kitchen checklist and unlimited super-fast broadband for free On the third day of Christmas, the students gave to SMLC A Unity game from Lily, Aira’s kitchen checklist and unlimited super-fast broadband for free On the fourth day of Christmas, the students gave to SMLC Cool tunes from Harry, A Unity game from Lily, Aira’s kitchen checklist and unlimited super-fast broadband for free On the fifth day of Christmas, the students gave to […]

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Letter to The Observer Editor

Sonia Sodha in her article “Is the state sometimes wiser than parents?” (6 Nov 2016) goes too far. She proposes banning home education and suggests; “Some may be getting an adequate education – we just don’t know”. The reality is we do know because there has been plenty of research showing that such education is largely very effective. Her stance is mirrored by that of the state in wishing to ignore inconvenient evidence. Let’s take another example. The Government’s own research has shown that every year at least 10,000 children get worse results at GCSE just because they are summer […]

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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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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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