Schools Minister confirms SES spiritual program in St James

Discussion of the children's schools in the UK.
josh
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Schools Minister confirms SES spiritual program in St James

Postby josh » Fri Mar 31, 2006 9:36 pm

Mike Hancock MP (Portsmouth South, LDem)Hansard source:

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what recent assessment she has made of the influence of the School of Economic Science within (a) St. James' independent schools in London and (b) The Alcuin School in Leeds; and if she will make a statement.

Jacqui Smith Jacqui Smith (Minister of State (Schools and 14-19 Learners), Department for Education and Skills) Hansard source:

We respect the right of parents to choose an independent school for their child, and recognise that they may want an education for their child which reflects their own religious or philosophical beliefs. All independent schools must be registered by my Department. In order to become and continue to be registered, they must reach and maintain a satisfactory standard in respect of the quality of education provided; the spiritual, moral, social and cultural developments of pupils; the welfare, health and safety of pupils; the premises and accommodation at the school; and the suitability of the proprietor and staff within the school.

We understand that the St. James' independent schools and Alcuin school both follow a curriculum and spiritual programme in line with the aims and beliefs of the Schools of Economic Science, and this is recognised in the most recent published inspection reports which can be found at: http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/reports/index. ... ndependent
www.isinspect.org.uk/frreports.htm

All these schools meet the regulatory requirements for continued registration as an independent school.

Link: http://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id ... ic+science

sugarloaf
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Postby sugarloaf » Fri Mar 31, 2006 11:28 pm

Thanks josh.

That certainly seems to be a lot less whooly than St James (juniors) own website (2006):

Education - Spiritual

St James is open to pupils of all faiths and religions, and the weekly Philosophy lessons seek to unite them all by exploring and establishing the universal principles of life.

Pupils are introduced to the profound and yet simple wisdom of the spiritual traditions of the world through stories and examples of great teachers.

The practice of a short period of physical stillness and inner quiet precedes and concludes each lesson and activity. This establishes the connection with that single presence which is ever peaceful and unchanging in today?s busy world. It is the essence of humanity.

Scripture lessons for all pupils are taken weekly by the Headmaster and, although non-denominational, St James has an Anglican School Chaplain. Four assemblies a week are based on the Christian tradition. There is also input from other traditions.

This approach results in a school with a diversity of children all united by a common ethos.


Are they both describing the same school?

Shout
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Postby Shout » Tue May 02, 2006 3:48 pm

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Shout
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Postby Shout » Wed May 03, 2006 1:21 am

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sly_gryphon
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Postby sly_gryphon » Thu Jul 20, 2006 1:38 pm

sugarloaf wrote:That certainly seems to be a lot less whooly than St James (juniors) own website (2006):
...
Are they both describing the same school?


I think you were just looking at the wrong part of their web site. The connection with the SES/SOP seems pretty clear. See the History section for:

St James Schools were founded in 1975 by Leon MacLaren. ...
Most of the teachers are students of philosophy in the School of Economic Science, a school of philosophy for adults, which was founded by Leon MacLaren over half a century ago, in London, to study the natural laws which govern men in society.


BTW. Most religious based institutions trot out the "open to people of all faiths" line (e.g. World Vision, Boy Scouts, etc) despite promoting a particular faith (usually Christianity).

Goblinboy
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Postby Goblinboy » Thu Jul 20, 2006 11:10 pm

Au contraire Sly_G,

That statement doesn't make the connection between the governance of the school and the SES in any way apparent.

Moreover, the SES continues to claim that it is not a religeon and that it draws from a wide variety of teachings, despite being fundamentally grounded in Adviata. This fundamental aspect of the SES is not made clear in any way on the website.

It's interesting that you drew an immediate implicit comparison between the SES and "most religeous institutions". The websites make no connection between the "philosophy" and faith.

Anyway, a belated welcome to the board. Would be interested to hear more about your connection with the SES.

Regards,

GB

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bonsai
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Postby bonsai » Fri Jul 21, 2006 10:29 am

Goblinboy wrote:It's interesting that you drew an immediate implicit comparison between the SES and "most religeous institutions". The websites make no connection between the "philosophy" and faith.


This has always been and remains the SES's biggest difficulty. It chooses to use words and descriptions that have different meanings in current conventional usage. Whilst the word philosophy used informally may refer to a belief, the formal and academic subject of philosophy is one that has no place for faith.

I know that the SES has done a lot to try and clarify things on the part 1 course and also now offers refunds to people who have come for the wrong reasons. The thing though is that there is a basic dishonesty that the use of these description implies and this is just the tip of the iceberg. Whilst I think the refunds idea is a good one, I think that the SES should attempt to resolve this issue properly. This involves perhaps changing it's name, and changing the information publicly available to describe what it is in language that the public at large can understand. These descriptions should include the fact that the organisation is a faith based organisation. As such the organisation should publicly declare what its core beliefs are. For example I'm not sure where Advaita actually stands on creationism but certainly the SES (or at least St James) believes that it is people's goal to find their way back to the Creator (God)

The core beliefs, creed and ethos should just be made available to allow people to properly judge. If it turns out in doing this that this doesn't attract new members then the SES must ask itself some serious questions or resign itself to the fact that it will not survive very long.

The most important thing for the SES both in terms of it's longevity and ability to deal with criticism is that it is Open, Honest and Truthful.

Bonsai


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