Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 21°C

min temp: 13°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Woodbridge: Free school based on teachings of The Beatles’ spiritual guru could open soon

09:00 20 October 2011

Barry Spivack and Felicity Kaplan who want to open a Maharishi Free School in the Woodbrdige area

Barry Spivack and Felicity Kaplan who want to open a Maharishi Free School in the Woodbrdige area

A SCHOOL that will follow the teachings of a maharishi who was a spiritual guru to stars including The Beatles could be set up in Suffolk.

shares

The Maharishi School Trust – which would offer classes in transcendental meditation – is exploring the possibility of setting up a free school in the Woodbridge area.

A similar school in Lancashire has faced criticism from opponents who feel Government money would be better spent elsewhere.

As well as traditional subjects the curriculum includes the beliefs of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who is widely credited as having developed transcendental meditation and achieved fame as guru to The Beatles and other celebrities.

The school would be for all 11-18 year olds and would grow a year group at a time, with 24 pupils in each year.

An application has to be submitted to the Department for Education by April next year and it is hoped lessons could start in September 2013.

It would be on a similar model to the Maharishi School in Ormskirk, Lancashire, which has been up and running since 1986.

It became a free school in September this year and its GCSE results are reported to be in the top 2.5% of all schools nationally.

The school describes its ethos as providing holistic development for all pupils, eliminating stress and improving the school’s atmosphere by creating a happy, focused and orderly learning environment.

Children take part in transcendental meditation at the start and end of the day.

Headteacher Derek Cassells said this helps students improve their performance by being “restfully alert” and therefore more receptive to learning.

“Students have testified to the effectiveness to these techniques in both promoting academic excellence and improvements in behaviour,” he said. “That’s a fantastic thing for any school but there are also other benefits, benefits outside of school and beyond. If we want children to do their very best then they need to develop creativity and intelligence, an excellent basis for further study and future life. The quality of students’ awareness is fundamental to successful educational outcomes.

“Likewise, all of the teachers at the school benefit tremendously from their morning and evening practice of transcendental meditation, which gives them the relaxation and alertness to manage every class effectively.

“Based on what I’ve observed with thousands of pupils and dozens of teachers in the past 24 years, it is clear that consciousness-based education is unique in its effectiveness in systematically developing the mental and physical potential of every student.”

However the school in Lancashire has come in for criticism from some Labour MPs who feel the Government would be better off spending money on improving existing schools and building new classrooms.

Barry Spivack, from Rendlesham, is one of the parents supporting the Suffolk plans.

He said: “One of the key things, unlike a lot of free schools, is that the Maharishi School has a track record. Its been going for 25 years in Lancashire and is academically non selective, open to people of all backgrounds.

“Its GCSE results are in the top 2.5%. Although Suffolk is in line with the national average, somehow you would expect the county to do better.

“One of the main reasons for introducing free schools is not just about improving choice but also driving up standards. Students in Suffolk do OK but is that good enough?”

Free schools are state schools, inspected by Ofsted, but have more freedom and flexibility over the length of the school day, the curriculum and how they spend their money.

They are open to all children and are not allowed to make a profit, with all funds raised going back to improve education for pupils.

Dr Cassells is hosting an open evening for any parents with children in years four and five who want to find out more about the Maharishi proposals.

It is happening at Shire Hall, Market Hill, Woodbridge, on Wednesday, November 9 between 7.45pm and 9.15pm.

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi was born on January 12, 1917.

He developed the Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique and was the leader and guru of the TM movement.

By 1955 he had introduced the TM technique to the world and in 1958 he began his first global tour.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s he achieved fame as the guru to The Beatles and other celebrities.

He started the TM-Sidhi programme that claimed to offer practitioners the ability to levitate and to create world peace.

In 2008 he announced his retirement from all administrative activities and went into mauna (spiritual silence) until his death three weeks later.

He created charitable organisations and businesses that include nearly 1,000 TM centres, schools, universities, clinics, health supplements and organic farms across the globe.

shares

3 comments

  • What a great concept for a high school education, pity meditation yoga aren't introduced earlier into the curriculum at KS1 and 2. Rendlesham is fortunate to have a brilliant well designed primary school, it would be great to see similar design principles incorporated with those of TM and Vastu.

    Report this comment

    Chhaya Mehta

    Thursday, October 20, 2011

  • If they have it at Bentwaters, then they'll be able to use the runways for Yogic Flying.

    Report this comment

    T Doff

    Thursday, October 20, 2011

  • No, thankyou!

    Report this comment

    PC Plod

    Thursday, October 20, 2011

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

An accident has caused travel delays

A 79-year-old man has died following a collision involving a trailer that had separated from a tractor as it travelled along an Essex road.

1st Woodbridge Scout Group take part in the Woodbridge carnival procession.

This year’s Woodbridge Carnival was particularly special for several reasons.

Large crowds soak up the sun and music at Music by the Sea in Aldeburgh.

A record-breaking number of music lovers lapped up the sounds of the sixties, seventies, eighties, nineties and noughties on the Suffolk coast.

Seth and Eliza Gaw loved Latitude but planning was key, says dad Matt Gaw

With the mounting costs of family holidays, events like Latitude can be a genuine alternative to a traditional bucket and spade break.

A man has been arrested in the investigation

A man has been arrested following reports of a rape in Sudbury.

Mounted police officers patrol on the beach of  Sousse, Tunisia. Inset image of Stuart Cullen.

The Government is to fund a permanent memorial dedicated to the victims of the Tunisian beach massacre - including two Suffolk victims.

Thousands of people are expected to flock to Ipswich Music Day, in Christchurch Park

The annual Ipswich Music Day festivities in Christchurch Park get underway at 12pm, despite the wet weather.

Police have arrested a man following the stabbing

Police in Essex have arrested a man following a stabbing which happened in Chelmsford yesterday afternoon.

An Abellio Greater Anglia train at Colchester

Train delays through Suffolk and Essex have been caused by urgent repairs to a railway bridge between Witham and Hatfield Peveral.

Ipswich swimmer Karen Pickering at the towns Crown Pools with the medals she won at the Commonwealth Games in Canada

For years, Karen Pickering was known around Ipswich simply as ‘Swimmer’, and you can understand why, writes Sheen Grant after talking to the new mum of twin girls, Evie and Mia.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages