Moving schools - taking a child out of St James

Discussion of the children's schools in the UK.
leon
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Postby leon » Tue Mar 28, 2006 7:46 pm

teacher100 wrote:To MM,


May I ask what beliefs you feel you daughter has been subtly indoctrinated with? I am genuinely interested in your reply. I can guarantee this is not anyone's intention.

Teacher 100


Monistic Theism?

Naturally the beliefs of Advaita which as you admitted, the teachers are influenced by. Advaita is simply another belief system among many with defining strictures and dogmas.

It is therefore contradictory to claim no particular faith is given prominence at school while admitting the teachers are influenced by Advaita. The fact you think Adviaita stands for a totality encompassing all other religions shows how much personal priority you give to it. "Not-two" may be wrong. The universe and it's origins may be plural, unity may be incorrect. SES does not think so, and they teach this accordingly at St James. The point is Advaita is perfectly definable and therefore denominational.
Last edited by leon on Wed Mar 29, 2006 6:34 am, edited 2 times in total.

anti_ses
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Postby anti_ses » Tue Mar 28, 2006 8:31 pm

Planet wrote:...in a potential peer pressure situation...

Sorry to sound like I'm nitpicking and perhaps taking a word slightly out of context, but you are describing potential peer pressure. Unless you personally know current St James girls who believe this to be the case, I would suggest teacher100's analysis holds more weight, simply because she knows the pupils she teaches.

You, and others, may argue that teacher100 is towing the 'party line' (clearly assuming that one exists), but I feel this is a prejudiced view. If there was a party line, it would most likely be "ignore this board", suggesting that teacher100 is expressing his/her own opinions. Terms such as "damage control", "PR exercise", "party line" all tend to, and are probably intended to, produce a negative image. These judgements are made so frequently and freely that it seems there's more peer pressure to agree with these views!

Teacher 100, if you believe that hopping on ones arse brings about world piece, as the TM movement subsribes to, then frankly I seriously doubt your sanity.

As for the effects of TM, there are independent and biased studies both for and against TM. Mike, there's no need to balance teacher100's postive views on TM - there have already been far more posts here criticising TM. And, anyway, who said anything about "world piece"?

MM wrote:Having spoken to a counsellor I am told that my child will have to be de-programmed and will have to be assessed in order to determine how damaged they are.

I do not know whether to laugh or cry at the trust you place in this counsellor. Besides my insensitivity here, a second opinion may not be a bad idea. Or is the indoctrination so subtle that only a trained counsellor can spot it? LOL.

leon
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Postby leon » Tue Mar 28, 2006 9:19 pm

teacher100 wrote:To MM,

The teachers are influenced by the founder's dicovery of the Advaita Vedanta philosophy.

Teacher 100


The founder?
Which founder? The one that set up and personally oversaw a school that criminally abused children? Or the founder that had almost zero interest in Advieta?

gadflysdreams
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T o Teacher 100

Postby gadflysdreams » Tue Mar 28, 2006 10:28 pm

Teacher 100, you mention that children younger than 16 yrs. join SES via their parents' introduction. Are they old enough to know what they are doing? Or are you saying that they join via the same route as a Catholic, Evangelical etc family might bring their children into the fold. If the latter is the case, should you not be advertising yourselves as a denominational school. Presumably the particular denomination would be, Adwaita Vedanta or School of Economic Science.

(Spent some years as a member of SES)

Planet
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Postby Planet » Wed Mar 29, 2006 12:13 am

anti_ses wrote:
Planet wrote:...in a potential peer pressure situation...

Sorry to sound like I'm nitpicking and perhaps taking a word slightly out of context, but you are describing potential peer pressure. Unless you personally know current St James girls who believe this to be the case, I would suggest teacher100's analysis holds more weight, simply because she knows the pupils she teaches.


I think you are nitpicking and also using one brush to cover many posts. I'm sure teacher100 knows her pupils and in this case possibly in a particular class there is little peer pressure to join say a "philosophy group" Nevertheless having a split group can result in peer pressure and alienation of those not in the group.
If it doesn't happen today I'd be surprised as it certainly happened in previous years. I'd find it hard to believe that some pupils don't join a said group xx just because their friends have. Of course they can leave.

SES is not a social club. It can become a way of life for some. Fundamentally offering this at age 16 in a school during a time of life when exams etc are important for your future might to some be seen as plain wrong.

MM wrote:Having spoken to a counsellor I am told that my child will have to be de-programmed and will have to be assessed in order to determine how damaged they are.


Its very easy to blame a school. Not every school is right for every child and every child is an individual. All I can suggest is talk to other parents regarding your childs behavior. Children can be confused, upset, fall behind in school, fail exams for many reasons and often these reasons are not always the most obvious reasons.
MM needs good advice and for sure this BB is not the best place to get it. Thats not to say the counsellor is any better.

mm-
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Postby mm- » Wed Mar 29, 2006 12:30 am

I said that the teachings of SES should not be shoved down people's throats because I don't think anyone of any faith should do that,


Teacher100,

St James are shoving the SES teachings down the throats of young children. I don't ever remember giving my permission for my children to be taught the Hindu teachings that this group follow. The school has clearly stated in past prospectuses that they are non-denominational.

In fact in the standard terms and conditions that I signed when I registered my children at St James it states and I quote; '...the school looks after the development of the emotional and creative side by music, drama, poetry and the arts; and the moral and spiritual development by introduction to the great scriptures of the world and the works of the master teachers....'

Naively I took this to mean all the world religions not just Hinduism and Advaita Vedanta. Who are the master teachers? Obviously as far as my child is concerned this only relates to some Guru, which SES members bow down to. The SES is nowhere to be mentioned in the standard terms and conditions that parents dutifully sign. I wonder why? What a joke your school is.

May I ask what beliefs you feel you daughter has been subtly indoctrinated with?


Members of a religious group, otherwise known as the SES, have taught specific teachings of Hinduism and Advaita Vedanta to my child. St James have deliberately concealed their ties with this group from me and their deceptiveness about what is taught to young children needs to be looked into with the utmost urgency.


it is not the intention to 'recruit', and it is important that we are also seen not to do it.


Really! you could have fooled me. Of course it is important that you are seen not to do it. Parents would leave immediately if the knew the truth, that's why teachers at St James are so good at making sure that the school appears to be so nicey nicey. St James recruits children into the SES cult. I'm not going to bore everyone with the details, as this is common knowledge. Please don't insult my intelligence by claiming that this is not so.

Anyway to another pressing matter and the one thing that really bothers me about a St James education. TM meditation;

I am not sure who you spoke to about de-programming your child but may I respectfully suggest you get a second opinion to balance the first. If your child is in the Junior School, presumably he/she isn't meditating anyway.


Teacher100,

Why do St James teachers treat non-ses parents like complete idiots?Please stop it.

Pausing is a form of TM meditation. Just like the mantra based meditation performed in the senior school, pausing uses a mantra and as the child progresses up the junior school this becomes more and more emphasised. Pausing is practised so that by the time a child reaches the senior school they are adepts at meditation and can quite easily be carted of to the school of meditation in Holland Park and given their own special mantra by your own special guru.

Again, nowhere did I give my permission or sign any forms for my child to practice this or have their time taken up by this activity in the junior school.

With regards to deprogramming---this is a fact and a quite serious matter. At this moment in time I am not prepared to talk about this side of things on this BB.

For others that may be interested, some of the negative side effects of TM meditation can include:

1.Blackouts, lack of sensory filters and anxiety attacks

2.Altered states and memory loss

3. Loss of Boundaries

4.Innapropriate and unrelated bursts of emotion

5. Muscle jerking

6.Long term emotional flatness

7.Seizures

mgormez
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Postby mgormez » Wed Mar 29, 2006 12:52 am

Stanton wrote:Don't know about TM - I just practise a mantra meditation - no hopping around ..... ever! I find it very beneficial as do others



I take issues with Transcendental Meditation practioners because they claim they can change the weather, solve all kinds of social ills, reduce teenage pregnancies, rid campuses of violence and drugs, and indeed the ability to hover.

These claims are as credible as stuffing a dead bunny, putting it on a monitor and every time a plane lands safely, bow dignified and type "praise leader" with your toes, in your enlighted state the bunny guided the pilots.

Mind you, I don't care if people want to believe the bunny did it or they believe meditation can reduce teen pregnancies in a country but passing it on as science to children is another thing.

Anyways, I won't make this into a long yes and no argument. Just my views.
Mike Gormez

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Postby BoeingDriver » Wed Mar 29, 2006 3:39 am

Mike, all I can say is "Long may the dead bunnies live" :black:

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Postby a different guest » Wed Mar 29, 2006 7:16 am

BoeingDriver wrote:Mike, all I can say is "Long may the dead bunnies live" :black:


*rushes out and buys a dead bunny for Boeing Driver*
:)
Relatives with long-term involvement in the SES / SOP/ SoEP

teacher100
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Postby teacher100 » Wed Mar 29, 2006 8:36 am

To M Gormez,

I don't hop or fly, I do just practice mantra meditation. I don't claim it brings about world peace, but I do find it personally helpful. I find it brings me peace, calm and happiness, destresses me and keeps me physically healthy. I don't think I'm any more bonkers than the next person.

I recently saw an article on the front page of the Independent that said 1 in 15 children now self-harm and 1 in 5 people in the population are expected to suffer from Mental Health problems. (nothing to do with meditation). This is increasing all the time, but noone seems to ask why.
If such a large number of people suffer from some sort Mental Health problem in their lives, I don't think you can really blame meditation if some meditators suffer from them. (Meditators also being members of the general public).

I expect because of the nature of mental health problems that if you are susceptible to it, meditation would be inadvisable anyway. I think meditation helps to see what is going on more clearly in your mind, and there is no doubt that some people would find that difficult.

If someone is experiencing difficulty with meditation there is no obligation to contine. However, why you should tell me or anyone else how dreadful meditation is, when having practised for 11 years I find through direct experience completely the opposite, I find frankly a bit insulting. (My father has been meditating for nearly 40 years.) There is plenty of other research about meditation, and thousands of people do it and find it beneficial.

I found that the website you referred me took a particularly suspicious point of view, that meditation must been sinister because we in the west don't understand it. Not everyone will find it is great, but it would be good if we could be a bit more open-minded. I am not arguing with the research but as everyone knows, if you approach research from a particular view-point you often find what you want to find.

I would say that decision to stop and start lies entirely in the individual's own hands and it is quite useful to have guidance from someone who is experienced on this matter. How much direct experience do you have of meditation?

And to the person worrying about peer pressure in the girls' school - there is no peer pressure to join the SES. I think out of a sixth form of 42 at the girls' school, maybe 3 or 4 are in the SES, entirely by their own volition, - it is a private matter, and as far as I know, they don't really discuss it in school. Some people join whilst at school and then leave, there is no peer pressure to rejoin as far as I know and they stay in touch with their friends. What I have sensed from parents on this website is a real culture of fear, which I am afraid has been stirred up terribly.

It is true that things that have happened in St James and the SES in the past have been plain wrong. People within SES have misunderstood the philsophy they are teaching and applied pressure where it should not have been applied, out of a mistaken notion it would be good for the person concerned. But this doesn't mean the Advaita Vedanta philosophy or meditation are bad, infact the message of Advaita Vedanta (unity) is in my view very beautiful.


I think the fear has been created for three reasons;

1) Genuine concern from past pupils that things have not changed and they understandably want to inform parents. Things have changed enormously.

2) Fear that St James is a recruiting ground for SES - it is not, and SES is not terrible anyway.

3) Fear because what is taught at St James is 'different' to conventional Western views - I agree more transparency is needed so that parents are aware what their children are taught, but they are not brainwashed, programmed etc.. There already is some transparency, for years now parents have been able to attend assembly and are aware of Sanskrit on the curriculum. The text books go home, so they can see the stories their children are being introduced to. Parents attend the Sanskrit speaking competition so know the access their children have to texts. Some of them are Hindu texts such as the Bhagavad Gita or the Upanisads. If any parent wants access to the philosophy or scripture syllabus, you only need to ask. There is nothing to be frightened of, but I can only say that, whether you believe me or not is a different matter. Also comments like ' the teachers are too nice' I just find very odd. The fact that people go on being nice term after term, day after day, is surely a good thing, isn't it?

If you don't like what is taught, take your children away, but just because it might be different to what you personally believe does not mean it is wrong.

As I have said before so much suspicious rubbish has been written on this website that I hope people will respect the fact that I am trying to put the record straight. I repeat that I am very happy to meet with anyone who wants to talk through things. I also hope that people wil believe what I have to say.

I wish you all the very best.


teacher100

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Postby xstJ » Wed Mar 29, 2006 8:52 am

teacher100 wrote:
I recently saw an article on the front page of the Independent that said 1 in 15 children now self-harm and 1 in 5 people in the population are expected to suffer from Mental Health problems. (nothing to do with meditation). This is increasing all the time, but noone seems to ask why.
If such a large number of people suffer from some sort Mental Health problem in their lives, I don't think you can really blame meditation if some meditators suffer from them. (Meditators also being members of the general public).



It's interesting that you bring up mental health.. I think you'll find a much higher rate of mental health issues such as self-harm, attempted suicide, suicidal thoughts, depression etc.. in ex St James and St Vedast pupils than you'll find in the population at large.

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bonsai
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Postby bonsai » Wed Mar 29, 2006 9:26 am

xstJ wrote:
teacher100 wrote:
I recently saw an article on the front page of the Independent that said 1 in 15 children now self-harm and 1 in 5 people in the population are expected to suffer from Mental Health problems. (nothing to do with meditation). This is increasing all the time, but noone seems to ask why.
If such a large number of people suffer from some sort Mental Health problem in their lives, I don't think you can really blame meditation if some meditators suffer from them. (Meditators also being members of the general public).



It's interesting that you bring up mental health.. I think you'll find a much higher rate of mental health issues such as self-harm, attempted suicide, suicidal thoughts, depression etc.. in ex St James and St Vedast pupils than you'll find in the population at large.


And what is the incidence of mental health issues at St James schools currently? Better or worse than the national average?

Does St James know how many children who attend self-harm and what expertise do St James staff have in recognising mental health issues or treating them or assisting in recovery?

I think the fact that parents of current pupils are choosing to withdraw their children and refer to issues such deprogramming etc demonstrates that when the St James model goes wrong the staff have no expertise in recognising that there are issues and are happy to continue to stick the heads where the sun don't shine and simply protest that such issues just don't exist. This was certainly true during my time at St James and I'm afraid teacher100 your trying to set the record straight seems to be doing the contrary.

If what is taught at St James is so innocuous to be harmless then it will be so innocuous to be of any benefit whatsoever. Teachers at St James need to realise that what is beneficial for them is not necessarily automatically beneficial for the pupils in their charge.

Bonsai

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Postby a different guest » Wed Mar 29, 2006 9:57 am

If any parent wants access to the philosophy or scripture syllabus, you only need to ask.


So does this syllabus state bluntly:-

Disabled people are like that cos they were evil in their past lives
Boys should never cry - even if they are 4 years old
Gilrs have to obey men

etc. etc.
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Goblinboy
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Postby Goblinboy » Wed Mar 29, 2006 11:25 am

Teacher 100,

Well done on persevering with this thread - it can be difficult to have your contributions subjected to such scrutiny.

I think the part of your post that is the critical cause of concern is the aspect of transparency, which you acknowledge, in part:

teacher100 wrote:..I agree more transparency is needed so that parents are aware what their children are taught, but they are not brainwashed, programmed etc.. There already is some transparency, for years now parents have been able to attend assembly and are aware of Sanskrit on the curriculum. The text books go home, so they can see the stories their children are being introduced to. Parents attend the Sanskrit speaking competition so know the access their children have to texts.


I suspect that if there was complete transparency - if the schools (and here I'm referring to all the SES-linked children's schools internationally) had the courage to go public with their beliefs and their relationship with the SES, there would be few, if any issues, and no climate of fear.

A Catholic school espouses catholic doctrine - we know what to expect, regardless of our opinion. We fully expect to see the hand of the church involved. An Orthodox Jewish school espouses the Torah. A certain standard of dress and custom is to be expected. The underlying philosophy of SES-related schools appears to be a highly regulated and adaptation of Advaita Vendata. Nearly all teaching staff and governing executive are SES members. The leader of the SES is involved in various capacities.

But this is not at all apparent to prospective parents. Too often we're told in print and in person it's non-denominational, that it draws from all the best of a wide range of philosophies, etc, without being specific as to which particular doctrine informs the direction of the teaching.

Regardless of whether it's a be a happy place brimming with sunny niceness - or a manipulative brain-eating cult - or both - let it be transparent, and take what comes.

As Mike Gomez has pointed out in a recent post, people happily and consciously become involved in far, far nastier organisations which are quite open about their nastiness. Sad but true.

So please don't get too hung up about people's concerns about the other stuff, and if you have any influence in the place, lobby harder for transparency. It may cause a great silence over this BB.

(The corrollary is, if the powers that be can't be convinced to follow the transparency option, you've got to ask yourself why.).

Best wishes,

GB

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Postby anti_ses » Wed Mar 29, 2006 12:11 pm

Goblinboy wrote:The underlying philosophy of SES-related schools appears to be a highly regulated and adaptation of Advaita Vendata.

This is only true if the philosophy is rammed down pupils' throats. Teacher100 argues that this is not the case. The school is open to people of all faiths and those who choose not to follow a faith: hence only 15% of pupils in the boys school come from 'SES families' and I would suspect even a smaller proportion join the SES after leaving St James. This on its own dispels the theory that St James is a 'recruiting ground' for the SES.

Goblinboy wrote:Nearly all teaching staff and governing executive are SES members.

Two thirds of the girls school staff are SES members, as Teacher100 pointed out - certainly this is most of the staff, but hardly 'nearly all' teaching staff. I'm not nitpicking here: any sceptic who comes across an exaggerated statement such as this will have the image of some cult in their head. Like many who have visited these boards.

Goblinboy wrote:The leader of the SES is involved in various capacities.

Could you please enlighten me on these "various capacities"? I'm genuinely interested.


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