College launched in 2009
The College was officially launched on July 7, 2009. The launch event was attended by local schools and colleges, parents, current students and staff. They heard about how the Self Managed Learning approach had been used successfully with children out of school; within local schools; and with head teachers and within universities.
Personalised learning programmes
Attendees were introduced to the principles of Self Managed Learning whereby people are able to plan their own learning and get support to carry it out. For instance in one project, the South Downs Learning Centre, students create a learning agreement around their learning goals. They meet twice a week in groups of six with an adult to assist them. On Monday morning groups meet to help each student (aged 11-16) to create their own personalised timetable for the week. Students then work each day from 9am-1pm to carry out their learning. Last thing on Friday morning groups meet to review how the week has gone and help students to think of changes in their work for the next week.
No formal lessons
The South Downs Learning Centre has no formal lessons, no classrooms and no imposed curriculum (the students decide for themselves what they want to learn). The process has proved successful, with young people going on to fruitful careers and to college and university. The Self Managed College is now recognised as a world leader in providing personalised education and this Brighton-based organisation is assisting others to learn to use the approach.