About Us

The Centre for Self Managed Learning (CSML) is a UK registered charity. The Centre was established as a non-profit organisation in 1993 and was granted charitable status in 2005

Self Managed Learning (SML), created by Dr Ian Cunningham, is a unique, research-based and practically proven approach to learning that delivers significant benefits over conventional methods.

Our aim is to develop and promote the wider use of Self Managed Learning for people of all ages, in all sectors of society. We are dedicated to increasing the effectiveness of learning in society by continuing the development of the methods and application of SML

  • Providing free access to information, research, news and articles about SML
  • Collaborating with universities and other bodies on new research and publications
  • Creating events, workshops and conferences to increase levels of understanding
  • Providing programmes for different sectors

The charity is governed by a Board of Trustees made up of people who have a deep commitment to SML, most of whom have personally experienced the approach. They meet at least 3 times a year to plan and review strategy and financial governance. CSML publishes annual financial reports which are lodged with both Companies House and the Charities Commission.

Programmes have been provided in a wide variety of contexts, including

For Organisations

In the private, public and voluntary sectors in the UK and internationally. Strategic Developments International Limited (SDI), a social enterprise consultancy which donates its net profits to the charity, has provided programmes for people at all levels from CEO’s to apprentices, both in-house and across consortia. The SML framework has been used to support businesses in a number of different contexts, including leadership development, business development and cultural change.

For Young People

Outside mainstream schooling through the Self Managed Learning College. The College is the Centre’s main project, led by its Chair of Governors, Dr Ian Cunningham, providing SML to students aged 9 – 16 in Sussex since 2002. The College also provides regular placement opportunities for university students who wish to study the approach.

In Schools

In schools and other education settings around the world including Europe, Asia and the Americas. An example case study of a programme is St Luke’s school in Portsmouth, UK.

In Other Contexts

Including higher level educational qualification programmes from HND to MSc level, parent groups, sports coaches and people nearing retirement.

Board Of Trustees


Avis is a member of the Governing Body of the Self Managed Learning College and has represented the former as a Trustee on the Board of the Charity since 2015.

She became interested in Self Managed Learning as a well-researched and effective method, when her home-educated daughter attended the College from 2008-2011 before moving on to higher education and who is currently studying music at Leeds College of Music. During her daughter’s time at the College, Avis was a regular volunteer and acted as a parent representative on the governing body.

Before becoming a home-educating parent, Avis studied law at the London School of Economics moving on to teach law at Middlesex University.   She returned to college in her daughter’s teen years to study horticulture and now works for a local environmental charity and as a freelance gardener.

In addition to gardening, she also enjoys walking and, as reported at the time in the local paper, once spotted the ‘Beast of Bevendean” – a large wild cat known to roam the Brighton area.


Sam joined CSML as a Trustee and the Director of Research in 2018, and was elected as Chair of Trustees in 2020. He first found out about Self Managed Learning in 2011 when he took a sabbatical to investigate why so many young people are unprepared for modern citizenship.

He founded the charity, Guidance for Youth, to help young people experience the benefits of taking responsibility, valuing themselves and others, planning for the future and building relationships. Self Managed Learning was selected as the most appropriate framework to deliver this to over 50 students in Dorset between 2012 and 2017. He is passionate about the long-term success of CSML and using impartial research to demonstrate effectiveness.

Sam has worked as an IT consultant for almost 20 years across the private and public sectors. He spent 7 years working at Bristol University Medical School and has been involved with a large number of clinical trials. He currently works for an automaton company in Dorset that specialize in Cell Line Development Research.

Sam lives in Dorset with his wife and two daughters and likes heading down to the beach in winter when it’s all calm and peaceful.

Dr Carmel Kent

Carmel became interested in Self-Managed Learning when researching evidence-based pedagogical approaches that could offer a safe and inclusive environment for young people who did not find schools as such. Carmel’s lived experience, as well as her academic research in social learning and educational technologies, led her to commit to developing opportunities for joyful and community-based educational offerings for young people who found themselves on the fringe of the mainstream educational system. After meeting Ian and diving into the practices around it, Carmel opened a new Self-Managed Learning centre in Oxford, UK.

Carmel is also a data scientist, supporting educational organisations in realising the potential of their data, and is advocating for young people’s rights to develop healthily to become autonomous and self-regulated learners.

Dr Stewart Glaspole

Stewart has been a Trustee of the Centre since 2023 and also acts as the Centre’s Company Secretary.

He has been a local resident since 2010 after moving to Brighton in 2000 where he took up a post at the local hospital as a clinical pharmacist. Shortly after, he gained a teaching position shared between the local health commissioning organisation and the University of Brighton where he has been for over 20 years.

Stewart completed his professional doctorate in education in 2008, specialising in educational psychology, and has been teaching a range of undergraduate and postgraduate students ever since. His clinical interest is rheumatology, and his research focuses on the teaching and learning of numeracy.

Stewart is partially deaf and is the disability workstream lead for the Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion committee within the University of Brighton’s School of Applied Sciences.

Randall Hardy

Randall has lived in Shropshire since 2007. He and his wife moved there from the Manchester area, where their older children learned in a small school which operated as a parents’ cooperative. It was in that setting they discovered home education, which they then adopted with their younger children. All their children are now adults, with families of their own.

After first becoming aware of the political climate affecting home educators around the time the Badman Review in 2009, Randall has continued to monitor developments relevant to HE in the UK ever since.

Randall maintains an ongoing interest in home education, having witnessed its benefits in his own family. He is particularly exercised about the increasing pressures which home educators now find themselves under globally and seeks to encourage parents everywhere to value their parenthood and think creatively about their responsibility for providing their children with a suitable education.