SML College Newsletter - Feb 2024
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SML College Newsletter - Feb 2024

Join us at the next Open Meeting

We have a parents evening on Monday 19th February, which we will be using Microsoft Teams. We have a session, as part of it, on Demand Avoidance. This will be led by Eliza Fricker - an author & illustrator, and an advocate & consultant for PDA, autism and learning, and we thought that this part in particular might be of interest to some of you. You are of course very welcome to join the whole session should you wish to.

The evening will run from 18:00 to 19:30, and the first part is to cover off some changes and updates on what has been happening and our plans moving forward. We will cover the following (timings are approximate):

•             18:00 to 18: 15  Introduction to Carmel (College Director) and Gavin (Chair of Governors)

•             18:15 to 18:30 Update on the College (what has been happening and what we are planning)

•             18:30 to 18:45 Overview/Reminder of College Principles

•             18:45 to 19:00 Q&A Answers

•             19:00 to 19:30 Session on Demand Avoidance (led by Eliza Fricker - an author & illustrator, and an advocate & consultant for PDA, autism and learning).

To register, please email

Michael is running the Brighton Half Marathon for the Hardship Fund - please support! 

Marathon Fundraising

Michael writes: ‘I'm running the Brighton Half Marathon raising funds for my son's college. The SML College is a place where young people can learn in a way that they want to. My son is in his second year and is finding it a great place to learn in a way that suits him.

‘SML College operates as a charity, so I'm running the half marathon to help raise funds. All money raised will go towards the College’s Hardship Fund, giving all young people access to learning.

’It'll be my sixth half marathon and I'm hoping to get across the finish line in under 100 minutes.’

Good luck Michael!

Please support him here:

Visit from Team from Liverpool

Visit from team at Liverpool

Four parents from Liverpool came for the day on February 2nd to learn more about us. They want to set up a centre based on our approach. The visit was part of our ongoing work to spread the use of Self Managed Learning nationally.


We very much value having volunteers to assist in the College. Currently we have an ex-student who helps in the computer room – and his support is very much valued by students. If you think that you might have something to offer in volunteering please contact Carmel Kent –

Schools & Mental Health

There is clear evidence that schools play a major role in inducing mental health problems in children. We now have a wealth of evidence from the USA that is undoubtedly equally relevant to Britain.

A study in a child mental health facility in Connecticut revealed that the average monthly number of emergency mental health intakes for school-age children, declined from 185 in May (the last full month of school) to 102 in June, (the month in which school is finishing), and then dropped to 74 and 66 respectively in July and August (the two full months of freedom from school). This is very clear evidence that school quite clearly has a negative impact on the mental health of many young people.

Another study found the rate of hospitalisation of school-age children for suicidal ideation and suicide attempts had increased dramatically, and that each year the rate of such hospitalisations was significantly higher in school months than in the summer.

Research on the rate of psychiatric visits to a large paediatric emergency mental health department in Los Angeles found that the rate of such visits in weeks when school was in session was 118% greater than in weeks when school was not in session.

The parents of many of the children who attend our small learning community are clear that school impacted negatively on the mental health of their children – which is why they pulled them out of school.


Finally, a big thank you to everyone who supported our call out for funds to support the science equipment for our GCSE students. Your support is much appreciated.