Maharishi Free School Forced to Alter Its Admission Criteria
Following a variety of objections (including one from the NUT) the Maharishi School fof the Age of Enlightenment in Skelmersdale has been forced to alter its admissions criteria by the Schools Adjudicator.
The NUT's objections were as follows:
- The expectation that parents/carers attend open days. This was upheld and it was ruled that the criteria must be revised to make clear that it is an opportunity and not a condition.
- The priority to children who have previously attended another school that is approved and supported by The International Foundation of Consciousness-based Education. These are fee-paying schools so the school has been forced to acknowledge that this is illegal for a state school and has removed the criteria.
- The implication that parents/carers who practice transcendental meditation would be prioritised over other applicants. The adjudicator agreed with us that the references to expectations about participation in transcendental meditation (TM) could be taken as being conditional in order to gain a place and that this must be rectified.
Neil Hancox (Secretary of West Lancashire NUT) commenting on the judgement, said, "I am pleased that the Schools Adjudicator has upheld our objections to the Mahrishi Free school’s admissions criteria, because I support the idea that schools should not discriminate on religious grounds.
"I am not surprised by these problems because the Government, in its rush to get its free school project off the ground, approved a project that simply got the tax payers of West Lancashire to fund what was a private school. The school has obviously failed to realise that the rules did not really allow this, and now they have fundamentally different responsibilities as a state school."
"I also continue to be concerned that Skelmersdale already has more than enough secondary school places and that money will be wasted as a result."
"I maintain that this whole project was ideologically based, unnecessary, possibly even damaging, and so the school should have remained private.”
Click here to read the full judgement as a Word file.