Alternative school on the cards for town

An alternative secondary school with daily meditation and yoga on the timetable is planned for the upper Calder Valley.

The Hebden Bridge School, with a slogal of Natural, Soulful, Democratic, is tipped to open in September 2016.

The independent school will use daily meditation and yoga in class sizes of 20 pupils, where students will make decisions with teachers about how the school is run.

Lead teacher Anil Sarna, who has experience as a languages teacher and a meditation and yoga instructor, said: “In our consultation, local parents have expressed interest in a more holistic approach to education that develops the wellbeing of each child, emotionally, physically and mentally.

“We also take exams seriously and will thoroughly prepare our students to succeed at GCSEs.

“Our small school will have no more than 100 pupils when full, which is a size that nurtures personal growth for students in what will be a warm, supportive atmosphere.

“We will be a democratically-run school where children learn to find their voice and to listen to others.

“Our size small size is essential to realising our educational philosophy but currently precludes us from receiving any government or LEA funding.

“Should this situation change in the future, we would be delighted to not have to charge fees.”

A statement on the school’s website says it hopes to offer students the best of alternative and traditional education.

It reads: “We strive to create an optimum receptivity to learning through yoga and meditation, democratic decision making, cross-subject learning and community service.

“Small class sizes will enable closer teacher- student relationships. For us the “classroom” is an exciting learning place which also includes the natural world.

“To keep the flame of learning alive both teachers and students need to be constantly challenged.

“We are an experimental school, looking to put theory into practice and innovation into education.

“Soulful creativity is at the centre of all that we do.

“We hope our children leave our school with a sense of purpose and confidence in themselves as unique human beings ready to break new ground in their path through life.”

Taster sessions beginning on October 18 at Stodfold Barn, Ogden, will give year six pupils and parents the chance to meet staff and experience what the school will be like.

Learning at the school from years seven to nine will project based and the taster sessions will revolve around particular themes, with the first one focusing on friendship.

A site is currently been sought for the school in the Hebden Bridge area and a science teacher and trustees are being recruited.

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