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Freedom to Learn

Freedom to Learn

By Freedom to Learn

Welcome to the Freedom to Learn Podcast! Celebrating freedom, autonomy and social justice in education. Find out more at:
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Home Education: Debunking the Myths, Exploring the Opportunities

Freedom to LearnDec 18, 2020

#DiverseEd - Virtual IV (Early Career Teachers)
May 17, 202152:52
Youth-Led Education Changemaking: Sharing Tools for Change
Mar 16, 202101:26:05
#DiverseEd Youth Panel

#DiverseEd Youth Panel

In a recent Changemakers' Lab action, Phoenix Education collaborated with Diverse Educators, Pupil Power, and Not a Trend in putting together the first ever student only panel at a DiverseEd event. This was also the first time that Diverse Ed had panelled student speakers which included: Aliyah York from @ThePupilPower, Ava James @avaajames, Ayah, Lottie Cooke @LottieCooke16 and Simi Musa @not_a_trend. Listen up to hear calls for the representation of young people in education decision-making spaces, unapologetic sharing of experiences of school and the education system, the scrapping of student councils to make way for less performative and more representative and critical ways of hearing  students' voices. You will also hear visions for 21st century education  that is democratic, transparent and honest, that supports students' interests and plays to their strengths.

Jan 26, 202147:13
 Podcasting for Changemaking
Dec 18, 202055:17
Taking Action: Activism in public spaces
Dec 18, 202001:05:05
 Self-Care, Burn-out, and Going the Distance
Dec 18, 202047:12
 Listening, researching and having one-to-one conversations
Dec 18, 202049:02
Storytelling for Change
Dec 18, 202041:47
What Does the Research Tell Us?

What Does the Research Tell Us?

Joanna Merrett from Exeter University presents her recent research into home education, and what it reveals about families' motivations for choosing home education. This is followed by an open discussion about why we need more research into home education.

Dec 18, 202001:27:48
Home Education: Debunking the Myths, Exploring the Opportunities

Home Education: Debunking the Myths, Exploring the Opportunities

Presented by Brittany Burton:, Facebook/Insta @ourthrivinghivelondon. During lockdown families got a peek (and I mean a tiny  glimpse) into the world of homeschooling. But doing "school at home” is a  lot different from a thriving home education. If you’re on the fence about continuing to home educate (whether due to C-19 or because your children have enjoyed learning at home), or perhaps have friends and family that may still not fully understand your decision to homeschool, I invite you to join me for this talk. We will be shedding light on some of the most common myths surrounding homeschooling:

Myth 1: Children can't learn if they are not in school.

Myth 2: Children who are not in school will not know how to socialise.

Myth 3: Children will fall behind and not have as many opportunities as their schooled peers.

Myth 4: I will go crazy if I stay at home with my children.

Myth 5: I cannot afford to home educate.

Dec 18, 202001:10:39
 Passion Led Learning
Dec 16, 202043:09
 Storytelling for Wellbeing and Creativity
Dec 16, 202051:21
Youth Activism 101
Dec 07, 202001:56:21


Join Deborah McCahon from to hear how Woodcraft Folk adapted during Covid-19 lockdown to deliver online and remote programme activities. Explore how you can benefit from their learning and possibly contribute to their ongoing programme activities. For more information see:

Dec 07, 202026:15
Freedom to Be Exceptional For Visual Learners

Freedom to Be Exceptional For Visual Learners

Visual learners often struggle with a purely auditory strategy taught for literacy in school. Creative, imaginative students invariably have great mental images that can dramatically improve literacy, numeracy,  concentration and so much more, when under control. Listen to this episode and try out for yourself how your own mental images improve your visual learning.

Dec 07, 202001:02:18
The 20% Project for Schools
Dec 07, 202033:18
Becoming a Democratic Teacher in a State School

Becoming a Democratic Teacher in a State School

A presentation and discussion about Derry Hannam's newly published book 'Another Way Is Possible: Becoming a Democratic Teacher in a State  School' a presentation by the Author Derry Hannam, followed by a group discussion.

Dec 07, 202001:10:20
We Research

We Research

Consider all the wonderful ways that you and those around you can become researchers in education. Hosted by Meera Chudasama, an English  Media and Film Studies teacher with a passion for practitioner research,  this episode delves into how children, teachers and parents can take part in the research process and even conduct their own inquiries. The group considers the collaborative aspects of education research; seeing the value in what  can be achieved when working together.

Dec 07, 202054:30
Address the Harm: Self-Directed Learning for Decolonisation
Dec 04, 202027:03
Online Social Action with Woodcraft Folk
Dec 01, 202055:30
How to Set Up a Self-Directed Learning Community
Dec 01, 202001:29:35
Changing our Minds: The Psychology of Self-Directed Learning

Changing our Minds: The Psychology of Self-Directed Learning

View the full video on youtube here. Why and how does self-directed education work? In this talk, Naomi  Fisher explains how psychological research supports self-directed learning, and show how schooling pits us against our own psychology.

Dec 01, 202051:36
Raising Revolutionaries
Nov 30, 202056:36
Coercion and Consent in Schools

Coercion and Consent in Schools

20th November is World Children’s Day, the anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. It coincides with the launch of School Differently, a social movement which questions whether the English education system is fit for purpose…

This episode is the audio recording of an event that took place on 18th Nov 2020, in support of the School Differently launch and in recognition of children’s rights, hosted by Phoenix Education.

We drew attention to the degree to which young people are asked for their  consent at school. How is coercion used to control the school  environment and young people in particular, and what are the impacts of  this? How might things might be different? Listen now to hear the panel as they share their thoughts, explore key questions, and take part in Q&A and discussion.


Tumi led a participatory action research project called 'Breaking the Silence' with States of Mind.  The two year research project explored students views on their  experiences within education and particularly, the impact of the  education system on young people's identity and mental health.

Amira Hamrat attends Summerhill, a school known as the oldest children's democracy in the world, and where young people aged 5-17 choose for themselves how to use their time, create the rules they need, and chair whole school meetings where problems can be raised and decisions made. 

Simi Musa  and Ava James attend sixth forms London, are co-founders of anti-racism campaign group Not a Trend, and are education activists participating in Changemakers' Lab. Changemakers' Lab collaborates with young people working towards  changing schools and the education system to better meet their needs and rights.

Fran Morgan is the Founder of Square Peg,  a Community Interest Company working to effect change for children who face barriers to school attendance and their families. Square Peg is working with Independent Thinking to launch School Differently and aims to connect groups and individuals who believe that the current education system is not fit for purpose

Jess Gribble attended Sands School, a democratic school with the slogan 'The Alternative Face of Education'. She has recently taken a masters at UCL's IOE, and has experience promoting student leadership practices from her career teaching in mainstream schools

Sophie Christophy is the CEO of Phoenix Education and co-founder of a consent-based and self-directed education setting for children aged 5-11

Nov 26, 202001:25:08
Ask the Headteacher - How Can We Change Our Schools?

Ask the Headteacher - How Can We Change Our Schools?

In this episode, headteacher Mark Pritchard takes questions from students on how they can go about raising issues in their schools, and be influential in making change happen. How can students and headteachers work together to bring about positive change?

This session is co-hosted by Simi Musa. Simi is a 16-year-old student from South East London, and is part of Changemakers’ Lab as well as one of the founders Not a Trend. Simi is extremely passionate about many social issues and is a part of projects surrounding topics such as student voice, anti-racism and mental health and social care for  young people. One of her main aims is to achieve equity in society using an intersectional approach.

Nov 23, 202059:30
Universities and Activism

Universities and Activism

How can University research contribute to radical changemaking in education? Listen in to this episode for an audience led discussion on how academic research can fuel the movement for liberated learning and social justice in education, with past and present academics and activists Max Hope, Martin Mills and Freya Aquarone.

Max has a passion and energy for transforming the education system. The first fifteen years of her professional life were spent in the community and voluntary sector, largely working with socially excluded and disadvantaged young people who were disengaged from education. Her frustration and anger at the way that they had been failed by the system led her to becoming a university academic at the University of Hull, undertaking research about inclusive education, equalities, freedom, democracy and social justice. Her recent book, Reclaiming Freedom in Education (Routledge) was published in 2018. She is the Chair of Trustees at Phoenix Education and defines herself as an academic, a facilitator, an educator, a researcher, an activist, and a writer.

Martin is a former high school teacher, and Professor and the  Director of the Centre for Teachers and Teaching Research at the  Institute of Education, UCL. He is committed to struggles seeking to  create a socially just education system – and a more socially just  world. Recent books include Re-engaging young people in education:  learning from alternative schools (2014); Reimagining schooling for  education (2017); Alternative education: International perspectives on  policy and practice (2018); and Autonomy, accountability and social  justice: stories of English schooling (2019). He grew up in England, but  has spent most of his life living in Australia.

they attended mainstream primary schools until the age of 10, and then spent two years at Summerhill (the radical democratic school in  Suffolk founded by A.S. Neill) where they spent a lot of time climbing  trees, being in plays, and doing algebra. Freya has worked in a number  of educational contexts including a Pupil Referral Unit, democratic  schools, and residential camps. They are currently doing an ESRC-funded  PhD at King's College London which focuses on participatory democracy in  schools and its significance for social justice, particularly for  marginalised students. Freya also teaches on the BA Social Science  programme at King's, which is run along quasi-democratic lines.

Samira is a university student studying the BA Social Sciences  programme at King's College London. Within the course she has been a  facilitator for the Course Community Meetings (quasi-democratic meetings  which students and staff use to discuss issues and make decisions about  the programme). She has an interest towards inequalities within the  education system and higher-education, particularly with reference to  race and class. Samira has been working with Freya on a research project  reviewing the Social Sciences programme at King's and how it is  committed in trying to create social change and justice within the  university landscape and beyond and the challenges faced when attempting  to do so. Samira attended a comprehensive non-selective state school  throughout her education, finding navigating her way through the  education system to be difficult. She is therefore passionate about  shifting the existing education paradigm.

The discussion is hosted by Rowan Salim, programs lead at Phoenix  Education, founder and facilitator at Free We Grow, and supporter of the  ecoversities network, where learners and communities are reclaiming  diverse knowledges, relationships and imaginations to design new approaches to higher education.

Nov 23, 202001:26:03
Creative Ecosystems in Education
Nov 23, 202001:00:19
Education Policy Making: Peeking Behind the Curtain

Education Policy Making: Peeking Behind the Curtain

Olly Newton spent 10 years in the Department for Education working on policies including 14-19 Diplomas, schools, raising the participation age, traineeships and apprenticeships. He now runs independent education charity The Edge Foundation, which supports education to become more relevant for the twenty-first century. In this session, he shares what it’s really like to be involved in policy making and how you can best influence policy change, with questions from Aliyah York from Pupil Power.

Nov 23, 202057:51
Exploring Mutual Aid in Education
Nov 23, 202047:21
Diverse Educators

Diverse Educators

In this panel discussion, hosted by Hannah Wilson, educators who are driving change in the grassroots space discuss how the systems and  structures in schools need to change. How can schools become more inclusive and celebrate the diversity of their communities to bring about positive change?

The panelists are:

  • Nick Bentley - @LGBTedUK
  • Ruth Golding and Bennie Kara  - @DisabilityEdUK
  • Penny Rabiger and Allana Gay - @BAMEedNetwork

You can see the video webinar here:

Nov 16, 202058:40
Super-powered: Finding the benefits of Neurodiversity
Nov 16, 202001:58:46
UK Schools Are Racist. Now What?
Nov 16, 202001:41:51
How to See the Child Not Just the Diagnosis
Nov 16, 202001:07:28