A revolutionary college with no classrooms, no imposed curriculum, no lessons and no ‘teachers’ is preparing to celebrate its 20th anniversary with a new book, proposing groundbreaking and urgent changes to the current, outdated educational system.
Sussex’s Self Managed Learning College allows students
aged nine to 17 to choose their own studies, which they can
learn in any manner they choose and only requires them to
be present in the mornings, giving them time to enjoy their
The system motivates, excites and develops personal
leadership, so every student from SML College has gone on
to further education or full-time work, including doctors,
lawyers, film directors, engineers and musicians
; there is zero bullying; summer-born children aren’t
discriminated against and the college tracks former students
to monitor future life satisfaction, which has shown that this
model really works.
The college was founded by Dr Ian Cunningham, after many
years of research led him to conclude that our current
schooling system was designed for the 19th century and is
failing us. He has written Self Managed Learning and the
New Educational Paradigm (out on 18 September 2020) to
detail the insurmountable evidence, theory and practice
proving why the Self Managed Learning model he invented is
an optimum solution.
He explains: “All young people should have access to a 21st
century educational approach, rather than the current
schooling model, which has remained relatively unchanged
since the Victorian era.
“Jobs for life no longer exist. We need to help young people
to self-assess and not depend on judgment from others. This
prepares them for a life of continuous, self-managed
learning, rather than teaching them how to pass tests,
because we can’t possibly predict what life after school will
Dr Cunningham insists Self Managed Learning already takes
place in schools, because students switch off for lessons
they find difficult or have no interest in learning.