June 2014 – Edition Eight
This newsletter has some updates on our work. We are always happy to elaborate on any items. Just email us if you need m
ore information.

While we always welcome visitors to our normal College sessions it can beuseful to have specific Open Days. These allow moretime for visitors to talkto staff, parents and students. Our next two are in July – Wednesday 9 July
from 1.30 to 3.30pm and Friday July 11 from 6.30 to 8.30pm at our usual
address at Brighton Youth Centre. Technically the address is 64 Edward Street, Brighton, BN2 0JR. However the entrance is
in Grosvenor Street (off Edward Street) and at the rear of the building.
All are welcome to attend and refreshments will be

Up to last year we had a Management Committee with some outside representation alongside staff members. Our parent
charity approved the idea of dissolving this body and replacing it with a Governing Body. This new body has representation from the parents (Sam Wilson) and from the staff (Gillian Trott) along with a student representative (Faye Willby) (who uniquely has full speaking and voting rights). The other members are Richard Vahrman and Moira Nangle (representing local business), Avis Carter (parent of an ex-student and representative of the charity Trustees) and Dr Graham Dawes (with long involvement in Self Managed Learning). Two new members will join the Governors as they rep
resent the collaboration we have with other educational bodies. Dr Judith Good from the University of Sussex and Pedro Catella from the Brighton Institute of Modern Music have both been great supporters of our work already and
they will bring their considerable expertise to the Governing Body.

On Monday July 7 staff and students from the College will be attending a conference on student voice in London. We will be running a workshop to show how our students have more than a voice in their education – they manage it.

We have been quite proud that in 14 years we have had no NEETs at 16 –that is no student leavers who were not in educatio
n, employment or training. Indeed up to last summer all our 16 year olds had gone on to sixth form or further education colleges. Last summer changed that as two of our students decided to set up their own business on leaving us.
They visited the College this year to raffle one of their products – a newly-designed sweat shirt.

We continue to use this excellent qualification that has been developed by the Arts Council. The advantage to us is that it allows students to create their own personalised portfolios of real learning and at the same time gain GCSE level
qualifications. While older students generally do take their own selections of GCSEs such exams are often limited in not showing the full extent of student learning. The Arts Award allows a much richer picture of achievement to show
through. Another advantage over GCSEs is that we have qualified assessors in our staff so that we can do the direct assessment.

Digital Education Brighton is a unique meeting of digital experts from the Brighton area and those in education. We have beeninvolved from the start in supporting this venture. The projects created from it have been quite special including a joint project with the Cherokee Nationin Oklahoma which has resulted in a major event in Brighton celebrating the success of the project.

The Fuse Report is an important document that is the result of rigorous research into the new kinds of enterprises that constitute the major new employers in our city. It shows how the fusion of creative and digital activities is generating a whole new kind of organisation – generally small and very dynamic. These organisations are the only major growth areas in the localeconomy. Ian Cunningham attended a meeting on the educational implications of the report. Companies represented were concerned about how the education system is often not geared to developing the capabilities needed for this newsector of employment. Ian commented on the role that our College plays in addressing these weaknesses in the system, particularly with our emphasis on young people becoming excellent self managing learners.

As part of our collaboration with the Informatics Department at the University of Sussex we have had a new group of students from their Masters degree working with our students. They have entered into the spirit of SML by identifying what our students are interested in and then helping them with material on programming that fits with these interests.

Ian Cunningham joined a panel at this conference that was focused around the teaching of the new curriculum on computing. Ian emphasised that we had no intention of teaching this new curriculum. Our approach has been to support students in developing their capability around computing based on theinterests and activities that they want to pursue. As evidenced by our involvement in Digital Education Brighton and the links with the University of Sussex we take computing very seriously and we bring in experts in this field to work with our students.However the example of the University is apposite in this context. Our student s come up with their needs and the University students help them with these.
Ian also challenged the focus of the computing curriculum in separating it from other subjects. He cited the Fuse Report on the local fusion of the creative and the digital sectors. New jobs are being created all the time that integrate
creative capability with digital skills. And the evidence of that report is that more people are working in these companies from art, design and humanities backgrounds than from science, technology and computer science.

During the past academic year, we were awarded funding from the Sussex Community Fund. This has enabled us to expand reso
urces in our music department and share these with Brighton Youth Centre. Also the Scientific and Medical Network funded a major project setting up a web platform to debate ‘What is a Good Life’ particularly around the subjects of Science and
Philosophy. The project has also enabled us to connect with universities in Brighton and beyond to explore this interesting are
area. In order to get in more money we have set up a sub-committee of the Governing Body to take on the task of fundraising.This is being run mainly by parents and is actively pursuing funds for bursaries for students.

A film company is making a pitch to create a feature- length TV programme about us. They have already done some filming and logged a demo film on the Vimeo site. If anyone wants a sneak preview of what is being developed we can supply the link to the demo film.

16 year-old Sam Watling left the College in the summer of 2013. We arranged for him to make a presentation about his experiences in education to the local TEDx conference. Sam gave a 19 minute talk without the use of notes and
received a standing ovation for his pungent critique of the state of schooling. His talk can be accessed at

We have been delighted to have the support of volunteers to assist us in ourwork. This enriches the experience for students and allows us to support volunteers who may be looking for a career in education. It has also been valuable to get support from experienced teachers who have welcomed a different approach to learning. We have been especially pleased to continue our collaboration with the University of Brighton and provide placements for their education students.
We benefit by having other people available to our students and the University students benefit by seeing a fully functioning educational approach that avoids the errors of schooling.
This last year we have linked with Brighton Institute of Modern Music (BIMM) and have hosted their graduates who were doing a Post Graduate teaching qualification. This has proved a valuable addition to our music tuition as they
are able to offer us real expertise in a range of instruments.
If anyone is interesting in volunteering with us please get in touch.

As part of our collaboration with the School of Education, Gillian Trott and Ian Cunningham contributed to a workshop for undergraduates on employability.They showed how employment patterns have changed an d how important the
ability to continue learning is for future career development.

We are the only small secondary education providerin the area. Hence we continue to be active in the small schools movement
. The research evidenceon the value of small educational settings shows significant advantages in smallness of size and the Small Schools Conference is a valuable event that helps sharing amongst those of us working in this way. This year’s event was held in Bicester and Ian Cunningham ran a workshop on SML for attendees.

We continue to welcome visitors who are interested in our work. We take seriously our charitable status to develop educational practice and to support parents and others. We have visits from other community organisations as
well as schools (where they are looking for alternatives to use with students who do not respond to classroom-based learning). We have also had visitors who want to set up similar organisations to ours in their localities. We are keen to support such initiatives as we are not into ‘empire building’. We plan to stay small and to provide a model of working that others can learn from. A couple of examples of this outreach work follow this item.

We continue to support the Self Managed Learning programme that has been running in schools in Dorset provided by Guidance for Youth.

Parents from a primary school in the Winchester are a visited us and were convinced that they wanted to create a secondary school based on SML principles for their children after they reach the age of 11. Following the visit
we kept in touch and provided materials and support . This has included parents attending a two day workshop on using SML that we ran for them and others interested (including from our own parents). After the workshop Ian Cunningham spoke at a meeting of parents and staff at the primary school and they are now actively working on plans for a new secondary school.

Given the recent concerns about the quality of young football talent, readers may be interested to note that we are supporting the development of coaching capability in a couple of major football academies.The Self Managed Learning approach is ideal for giving the coaches of young players the chance to develop the new capabilities required to change
the way that footballers develop. One value of sport is that it provides direct evidence of the way that better learning leads to better performance. In January of this year Ian Cunningham visited thenew Football Association
facilities at St George’s and ran a workshop for coaches from Nordic

We are keen on students gaining work experience as part of their learning. We are indebted to organisations in the city and to parents for arranging week-long work experience in areas such as construction, broadcasting and events organising.

Outside visits are important for our students. As an example a group recently enjoyed time in the Devils Dyke part of the South Downs, exploring the history and geography of the area. In Brighton Gillian Trott took a group to the Earth
ship in Stanmer Park as part of an exploration of sustainable housing. Students have also used other local
resources such as the Brighton University Art Gallery, the Jubilee Library and the Brighton Museum and Art Gallery. It’s a big advantage for us being in the city centre and within a few minutes walk of these and other facilities.

We have continued our connection with this award-winning community radio station. This has included Ian Cunningham doing a guest slot on education and a student doing a work placement at the studio.Also Ian and student
Elijah Armstrong contributed a joint programme.

You can get more information about the College on the website where you can download free material such as articles. You are welcome to get in touch with us if you need more information or you want to comment on our work. Also you can copy this newsletter and pass it on to anyone that you think might be interested.

Self Managed Learning College,
Office – 31 Harrington Road, Brighton BN1 6RF.
Phone 01273 703691 or 270995.

Mobile 07850 313814.
The College operates daily from Brighton Youth Cent
re, 64 Edward Street, Brighton, BN2 0JR

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