Article in Irish national newspaper on John Scottus School

Discussion of the SES, particularly in the UK.
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Article in Irish national newspaper on John Scottus School

Postby ConcernedMum » Wed Jul 18, 2007 12:18 am

Hi there
Here's a link to an article in an Irish national newspaper: ... 38120.html

What do you make of the claims made that:
"Advocates of a philosophy-based education system say it leads to grounded and well-rounded students, while others say it isn't real philosophy at all, but a form of sympathetic or intelligent conversation between adults and children.

But what it's called or how you title it is of little relevance, because there is evidence that using a philosophical approach when teaching young children leads to a more flexible form of thinking. It is said that this helps guard them from future-shocks that could hit them in adult life, including depression and self-esteem issues.

The results are encouraging, not just academically, but in the way such schools are producing young individuals with a sense of self, and a more self-assured idea of where they fit into the bigger picture".

Big claims - there seem to be plentiful testimonies to the contrary - any evidence to back this up?????

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Postby bonsai » Wed Jul 18, 2007 11:18 am

Hi CM,

Thanks for posting this article. I'll be honest and say that this article really pisses me off and could not be further from my experience of St James school. Now admittedly the experience at John Scottus could be very different from the original day schools in London but I doubt this as there is a significant amount of testimony in this forum that seems to ring true with my own experiences and others of the London schools.

Irish Independent article - Big issues, little people wrote:Instead of trying to programme the young students with pre-moulded theories so they conform to a tailor-made model, the beauty of early philosophical education is that it encourages the young pupils to come up with their own answers.

Whereas adults would be more self-conscious and considered in their replies, children will answer anything you put to them, almost instinctively.

"We can give them the questions, but they come up with the answers," says Mary Telford, principal of the John Scottus Junior School on Dublin's Northumberland Road.

"The three basic questions we get them to explore are: Who am I? What is this creation? What is my relationship to it?" she adds.

The school is non-denominational and has students who are Christian, Muslim, Buddhist and Hindu, and Mary says the answers generally come back expressed in a "quasi- religious way" because that is the format through which we have dealt with such deep questions for all of time.

"But it must be stressed that we are not teaching religion," says Mary. "It's just that the answers to those 'big questions' in life have tended to be worked out in that kind of way. "It isn't dogma," Mary explains. "But children can relate to forces of good and evil and how they work with and against each other, and they ask questions based on that.

If only it were true that they want the kids to come up with their own answers but this is so not the case. There was no room to be an atheist at St James and I doubt there really is as John Scottus. There is no room at St James to say that you do not believe in their concept of "consciousness". The teachers may think there is but they have no perception of just how repressive the infliction of SES/SOP philosophy is.

Mrs Telford's quotes that children reply more instinctively implies that she believes that a childs instinctive answer is likely to be a correct one but at the same time she acknowledges that answers they give, because of their family cultures and backgrounds, are "quasi religious". This in turn implies that these are answers that a child is repeating because they have heard them elsewhere. These statements are contradictory. A child is more likely to give an answer that they have heard from another source as they have neither the life experience nor the deductive reasoning to come up with an answer of their own.

As for not being dogmatic that is just blatantly not true. Just an admission by the SES or the SOP that their philisophical beliefs are based on advaita implies a dogma and this underlies all the philisophical discussion at the day schools.

Irish Independent article - Big issues, little people wrote:Mary Telford explains that teaching children through philosophy gives them a robustness and confidence, and an inner genuine belief in themselves as unique individuals that can be a driving force even if they are not academically gifted.

Well certainly this is the biggest load of bollocks I have heard. I left school a somewhat cocky and arrogant teenager who inside was totally insecure and was frightened by the world. I had no trust in by inner self belief and I did not have any confidence in myself as a unique individual. I was socially inept and had a completely skewed perspective of what was important in life. I left school thinking that I had to achieve the goals and aspirations that my parents and my teachers had outlined for me. I had started to rebel and do things differently when I was leaving school but that was simply because I new that something was not right and I had to do something about it.

It has taken me about the length of time I was at school since to be the person I am today but there are still elements of the insecure, shy and confidence lacking person that St James helped to nurture in me.

The St James method (which John Scottus follows and which is advocated by the Education Renaissance Trust) may work for some but it certainly doesn’t work for all and they need to stop being so bloody arrogant and listen to those it has harmed along the way. They also need to stop deluding themselves that they provide a more liberating environment for kids to explore their own personalities and beliefs because this could not in fact be further from the truth. St James is one of the most authoritarian and vicious environments I have had the misfortune of experiencing.


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Article in Irish national newspaper on John Scottus School

Postby Justice » Wed Jul 18, 2007 2:27 pm

Anyone wishing to email Conor Feehan, the journalist responsible for this article, can contact him at:

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Postby Matthew » Wed Jul 18, 2007 2:37 pm

I couldn't agree more, Bonsai.

It might be worth contacting the article's author, Conor Feehan at

If he was made aware of the full horror of these schools' background perhaps he might consider doing a follow-up article, if for no other reason than in the interests of honest and balanced journalism.

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Article in Irish national newspaper on John Scottus School

Postby Justice » Wed Jul 18, 2007 3:08 pm

The newspaper's Editor, Gerald O'Regan can be contacted at:

Abel Holzing
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Re: Article in Irish national newspaper on John Scottus School

Postby Abel Holzing » Sun Dec 20, 2009 11:10 am

ConcernedMum wrote:Here's a link to an article in an Irish national newspaper: ... 38120.html

Here's another article about the Irish day school (mainly about funding; from today's Sunday Times): ... 962788.ece

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Postby Free » Sun Dec 20, 2009 1:02 pm

Last edited by Free on Wed Oct 05, 2011 10:35 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Article in Irish national newspaper on John Scottus Scho

Postby stiltrubld » Mon Dec 21, 2009 6:47 am

Last edited by stiltrubld on Thu May 24, 2012 1:19 pm, edited 2 times in total.
SES: 1990 - 2009 London (Female)

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Re: Article in Irish national newspaper on John Scottus School

Postby Ahamty2 » Mon Dec 21, 2009 11:04 am

There must be a world wide pr campaign to promote the SES/SOP educational schools and how different they are from the norm.

The headmaster of John Colet School (formerly St James) a few weeks ago was on our ABC Radio National morning program singing the praises of how 5/6 yr old do Shakespeare right through primary, study(?) Sanskrit, philosophy and do awareness exercises. Also promoted his own book based on SES philosophy and how all the teachers do(?) philosophy themselves and look at all religions but is a non-denominational school. No mention of Advaita, HH, SES connection. That the Sanskrit is only learning the devanagari script to chant vedic prayers, that the awareness exercise is based on the rantings of Gurdjieff and the alcoholic Ouspensky. The sweet sugarcoated innocent image that the SES/SOP have been using to fool the general public for years.

As for not knowing about Clara Salaman's book and therefore not read it, was the stock answer when the 'Secret Cult' was published.

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Re: Article in Irish national newspaper on John Scottus School

Postby Tootsie » Tue Dec 22, 2009 2:36 pm

Hi Ahamty, I've just found some articles that were published in the Daily Telegraph way back in 1985 about the Sydney SOP, under the heading, 'Cult enslaves devotees' makes interesting reading. They came out just after the book Secret Cult was published. Here is the SOP comment on the book, sound familiar? Fast forward 20 years!

A spokesman for the school in Australia, Mr Bruce Sullivan, said although he had not read the book and did not intend to, he believed the claims made in it were untrue. In any case, he did not intend to "comment on any allegations made in the book." I have to laugh at his statement, reminds me of the holocaust denial never happened, or maybe Admiral Nelson with his telescope saying 'I see no ships.' This is why School will never say sorry!

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Re: Article in Irish national newspaper on John Scottus School

Postby malin » Tue Dec 22, 2009 11:46 pm

Hi Tootsie,

If youve found any historical press articles on the SES - do please feel free to post them on the reference site... we have a good and growing collection of press cuttings there.

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Re: Article in Irish national newspaper on John Scottus School

Postby Tootsie » Wed Dec 23, 2009 12:32 am

Thank you Malin for drawing my attention to the historical press articles reference site. I think the following articles should be added to them. There are three articles under these headings:-
Bland poster led to life of 'menial chores and empty ritual'
Cult's women and children starved and forced to work unpaid
Former sect members reveal how they were brainwashed

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