The Self-Managed Learning College is a place in Brighton that communicates with parents and students in order to create the best education structure possible for people aged 7-16 who do not go to schools. Most importantly it is student led and teachers are used to facilitate the students' learning as opposed to leading it, in other words it is a great example of a method of educating that listens to students’ voices.
It is a place that does not have a set curriculum; it caters to individual needs meaning that each person gets an education that is tailored to them and their speed of learning. The center takes advantage of the libraries and galleries near it in order to enhance the students’ learning and this allows students to visually experience what they have learnt. Unlike the national curriculum, learning is not set through textbooks but through experience which is why the school day starts at 9am and finishes at 1pm.
Instead of having a stereotypical classroom, there are learning groups that consist of students who are in charge of what they want to learn. Every Monday these groups meet to set a timetable for the week ahead so consequently what they learn and when they learn it is decided amongst themselves. As you can see, it is a place where education is not based on what the current Education Secretary deems as important but what people like YOU see as important. Things like Maths and English are still taught and the students learn a lot but they enjoy learning and they are actively engaged in shaping their education.
However, despite its success, the council has decided to cut its funding. Not only did they decide to cut funding but also the council took a while to acknowledge the center as an excellent educational facility. Surely instead of deciding to cut funding, it should be using the Self-Managed Learning Centre as a example of a way to increase the interest young people have in education. Ian Cunningham, the creator of this method, sums it up perfectly. “Given that students feel happy and safe with us, and are learning, it is horrifying that the Council wants to return children to places where they were unhappy and unsafe – and were not learning.”
This video shows how the center works.