knowledge is structured in consciousness
IN THIS SECTION
“There is a relaxed and friendly atmosphere, which helps pupils grow in confidence and ensures they feel entirely safe.” Ofsted 25th July 2013
The Maharishi Free School provides and academically challenging Secondary curriculum based on a framework tailored to age and ability that encourages pupils to embrace and understand the connections between traditional subjects and the real world, and become analytical, reflective and creative thinkers. We follow the National Curriculum and associated guidance within an overall framework of Consciousness-based Education.
There is a body of teaching principles that constitute an integral part of Consciousness-based Education (CbE) and which form the common core of teaching philosophy and practice at the Maharishi School. These teaching principles are organised under the five fundamentals of Consciousness-based Education:
Receptivity • Intelligence • Knowledge • Experience • Expression
When these fundamentals are fully implemented, learning is easier, more successful and fulfilling. The learning environment is structured to support and nourish all students regardless of learning style, abilities, background, or gender. Primary emphasis in teaching is given to providing comprehensive learning experiences for students of all ages, which allow them to move through the cycle of:
Knowledge → Action → Achievement → Fulfilment
Students are encouraged to work actively with the knowledge they are gaining, and to share it with others in a variety of ways. When these principles are fully enlivened in the life of the school, the hallmarks of good education are realised, such as an enthusiasm for learning and appreciation for the teacher.
Traditionally, education has focused primarily on what the students study — the objective aspect of knowledge, the ‘known’. Little attention has been given to developing the abilities of the student to learn and the teacher to teach. Education has lacked a systematic means of developing the full value of the knower and the processes of knowing, making the acquisition of complete knowledge impossible.
The quality of the students’ awareness — their intelligence, creativity, and receptivity to knowledge; their sense of self and confidence in their capabilities; their ability to comprehend both broadly and deeply — is fundamental to successful educational outcomes. Truly successful education cannot lie solely in what the pupils learn or in what they are taught. Ultimately the degree of success of education depends upon the development of every pupil’s ability to understand and comprehend. Whereas other methods and programmesdepend for their effectiveness on whatever receptivity, intelligence, creativity, and neurophysiological integration the students may already have, this system of education directly develops these characteristics in all the students irrespective of their background, attitudes, gender, or abilities.
This understanding reflects a fundamental concept of Consciousness-based Education – ‘Knowledge is Structured in Consciousness’ – this is the core of the educational philosophy and motto of the Maharishi Free School. By developing the full potential of each student, Consciousness-based Education can bring success to any educational endeavour and the highest ideals of education can be realised by every student.
The Maharishi Free School’s commitment to systematically developing the full potential of every student and teacher is enabled through their daily practice of Transcendental Meditation.
Transcendental Meditation (TM) is an easily learned, simple mental practice which promotes the ideals of education by directly developing the student’s consciousness – their ability to know and understand. Through this practice the student’s latent potential begins to unfold. The wide range of cognitive, psychological and physiological benefits from the practice of TM have been extensively validated by more than 200 scientific studies, conducted at universities and research institutions around the world.
The overall structure of the curriculum is to establish and build upon a secure framework of Maths and English from the early years, with developing understanding of Science and Technology, the Humanities, and the Creative Arts, along with integrating themes used to help to connect disparate areas of knowledge. This approach, where a potentially fragmented range of subjects is integrated through the use of common themes which are then able to be related to the student’s own self, is a key component of how CbE enhances the ‘known’ – the subjects studied by the student. This approach of integrating all subjects and then relating them to the pupil’s own life occurs in every subject and at every age, and is an important aspect of the pupil’s development.
strong>Secondary Curriculum (Year 7 to Year 11)
Pupils who are have been enrolled in the primary school will experience the secondary school as a continuum in both content and teaching methods. The curriculum offered by the Maharishi Free School is consistent with that offered by other state funded schools enabling pupils to transfer into the school at the start of Key Stage 3 with all the requisite skills and knowledge to allow them to access the broad curriculum.The secondary curriculum consists of the following subject areas:
- English Language
- English Literature
- Additional Science
- Sport & Physical Education
- Computer Science (optional after school)
- Photography (optional, extra-curricular, extra cost)
- Consciousness-based Interdisciplinary Studies (CbIdS)
All pupils in years 7 to 11 study the non-optional subjects above and may choose to also study one or both optional subjects. With the exception of Sport/Physical Education and CbIdS, all of these subjects, lead to a GCSE qualification. In addition to these subjects, all students practise Transcendental Meditation (TM) twice a day. This is fundamental to the Maharishi Free School curriculum. The practice provides a deep experience of Restful Alertness, which systematically enhances creativity and intelligence, which in turn makes learning easier and more fulfilling.
Scientific research shows that brain integration and coherence starts to be developed from the very first session of Transcendental Meditation. It is the case that some of the children in the Maharishi School will have been practising Transcendental Meditation for longer than other children but the proven effectiveness of the technique ensures that the pupils new to the practice are not disadvantaged. All subjects include the application of the integrating themes.
Similarly, 30 years of experience at the Maharishi School has shown that the integrating themes of Consciousness-based Interdisciplinary Studies can be understood and assimilated by pupils who are new to them.
In years 7-11 the percentage of taught time given to each subject is:
- English Language & Literature 15%
- French 10%
- Core & Additional Sciences 15%
- History 10%
- Mathematics 15%
- Geography 10%
- Consciousness-based Interdisciplinary Studies 5%
- Art 10%
- Sport & Physical Education 10%
Balanced development is at the heart of the Maharishi School with the twice daily practice of Transcendental Meditation and the experience of restful alertness. The experience of Restful Alertness during Transcendental Meditation systematically enhances creativity and intelligence making learning easier, smoother and more fulfilling. Many peer-reviewed, published, neuro-physiological studies indicate that during this experience brain-wave activity becomes more coherent (orderly) both between brain hemispheres and from front to back. This provides a possible explanation for the subjective experiences reported of ‘clearer thinking’.In addition to the percentages given here, there are two sessions of Transcendental Meditation each day which take place at the beginning and the end of the school day. These sessions are 10-13 minutes at the start and at the end of the school day.
We are confident we add value to the students’ outcomes whatever their level on entry to the school. The smaller class sizes and the smaller scale of the school overall contribute to accomplishing an increase in standards and an improved experience for our pupils, enhancing the powerful effects of the Maharishi Free School approach.
Consciousness-based Interdisciplinary Studies (CbIdS)
The CbIDS curriculum at the Maharishi Free School develops four principal areas which Consciousness-based Education recognises as fundamental to effective learning:
Fulfilment: CbIDS contributes to the development of complete knowledge by revealing the deeper significance of any subject to the student’s own life.
Development of the knower: The experience of Restful Alertness during Transcendental Meditation is the foundation for gaining the ability to effectively understand and reflect upon of every area of life.
Enriching the process of gaining knowledge: together with the other principles and teaching methods of Consciousness-based Education, CbIDS enables teachers to integrate the different school subjects and make them relevant to the pupil or student.
Adding depth and breadth to knowledge: The curriculum content that provides the intellectual knowledge necessary for a pupil or student to grow to greater appreciation of every field of knowledge.
The purpose of the Consciousness based Interdisciplinary Studies (CbIDS) curriculum:
To develop higher order thinking skills (application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation) by utilising the various themes of CbIDS to integrate all areas of the curriculum which the pupil can then further relate to themselves.
Use of the CbIDS integrating themes are a fundamental component in developing the attitude of ‘The world is my family’ in pupils.
The application of the Consciousness based Interdisciplinary Studies (CbIDS) curriculum:
The key ideas, aspects and values are integrating themes. A new theme is studied every two weeks. These themes form the basis of lesson planning done by teachers for lessons in CbIDS.
Maharishi School’s Art syllabus enables all students to participate fully. The GCSE examination enables students to explore and develop in the traditional areas of drawing and painting but also in photography, videography, textiles, three-dimensional studies (including sculpture), for example. This has the advantage of including all pupils regardless of their ability or opportunity outside school.
English Language GCSE (AQA) is taught to all pupils as a two year course, culminating in 100% external assessment. There are many transferable skills between Language and Literature and therefore where possible, Language is taught through the set Literature texts. The AQA specification is designed to inspire and motivate pupils, providing appropriate challenges, whilst ensuring that the assessment and texts are, as far as possible, accessible to all pupils.
English Language enables pupils to develop the skills they need to understand and analyse a range of texts and write clearly for a variety of audiences and purposes.
Pupils will also complete a presentation as part of their GCSE: this can be on any topic but pupils are encouraged to choose something which can be debated and discussed at length.
English Literature AQA is also designed to challenge and motivate across the ability range. The transferable skills of the Language course help pupils to fully engage with the four main texts studied for examination in June. The course consists of the study of the writer’s language and intentions in;
- A Shakespeare play
- A 19th Century novel
- A modern text
- Fifteen poems from the AQA Anthology
The study of texts at GCSE allows pupils to engage with characters and situations and therefore can promote great discussion about the world and human actions. The close analysis of texts allows the pupils to understand the writer’s intentions and to use the information to craft their own wonderful pieces of writing.
We aim to equip our pupils with the skills and knowledge to understand and converse in French. A wide range of resources are used in French lessons to motivate and enthuse our learners; speaking activities, group work, independent learning, mini whiteboards, Chromebooks, games, videos and songs, etc. Pupils in Year 7 have the opportunity to participate in the National Spelling Bee competition organised by Routes into Languages.
Our current Y10 pupils are studying towards the AQA GCSE qualification and developing their skills in listening, speaking, reading and writing, which will be equally weighted at 25% in the final GCSE examinations in summer 2018 at the end of Y11.
Our current Y11 pupils will be assessed via four Controlled Assessment tasks which test their skills in speaking and writing (60%) and terminal examinations in both reading and listening (40%).
At the Maharishi School we follow the Geog.123 and AQA A schemes of work. The policy is based on the theme that not only is the whole more than the sum of the parts, but also that there is wholeness in every part. This ensures that pupils become familiar with the skills to analyse topics from overview to parts, and then to synthesise the knowledge in a meaningful way.
Planning, teaching and assessment aim to help pupils make progress in several areas:
- Stimulating pupils’ interest in geography, developing a sense of place and an appreciation of the environment, which should lead them to learning to act in an informed and responsible way .
- Acquiring knowledge and understanding of a range of places, environments and patterns in geography; at a range of scales from local to global; and acquiring an understanding of the physical, human and environmental processes which affect the development of these places
- Understanding the significance and effects of decision-making of/on places, people and environments.
- Developing awareness of the way people and environments interact; the opportunities, hardships and challenges that people experience in different places and environments and the importance of sustainability of decisions and actions regarding these interactions
- Appreciating the dynamism of Geography in terms of the study of the changing physical and environmental world, but also on the level of continually deepening of understanding of the subject
- Acquiring the skills and techniques needed to study the subject and conduct an independent enquiry; including map work, fieldwork, ICT and data presentation and analysis.
Fieldwork is seen as an essential part of Geography and wherever possible we try to take every year group to study an area of geography in the field.
The study of history is the chance to investigate our past and bring it to life in the present. Pupils in Years 7 to 9 study the major events in British history, practising the skills of interpreting clues and evidence to help make decisions, formulate arguments and draw conclusions. The study of history is an enjoyable way to practice these skills, which will come in useful for whatever pupils choose to study after GCSEs, and ultimately take with them to the workplace.
Our Year 10 group are following the new AQA GCSE specification which encompasses a mixture of British and world history, from medieval events, up to the recent past. Their GCSE will be externally assessed, with no coursework or controlled assessments.
Year 11 are the final group to be following the old style GCSE course, where controlled assessments make up 25% of their final grade, and exams 75%. They study aspects of Medicine through time, as well as the vast social and economic changes that took place in Britain from approximately 1815 – 1851.
We encourage the pupils to bring the past to life through a range of Educational visits. Sites of historical significance are all around, which is why we take each year group on one field trip per academic year. We are spoilt for choice of venues. This year we will be taking various year groups to Quarry Bank Mill in Styal, Chester cathedral, The Thackray Medical Museum in Leeds, and even Caernarfon Castle!
Mathematics is the study of patterns and relationships. Our focus is on the development of the student as a mathematician, which involves learning quantitative skills, abstract reasoning and problem-solving ability within our students . These abilities depend on clarity of thinking and reasoning within a child’s consciousness, all of which have been shown to increase with the practice of TM.
It is a pleasure to teach Science at the Maharishi School. Young people have a natural curiosity and fascination with the world around them. In the Science classroom we can explore, investigate and discuss many of the principles and processes of the world around us, ranging from the structure and function of cells and biological processes, to the principles of chemical reactions and even the history of the entire Universe.
Sport & Physical Education
Friday afternoon is the time when the secondary phase of the Maharishi School join together for sport. We provide the most varied curriculum that we can with Taekwondo classes, football coaching, dance and various other sports taking place off-site during the year. Quite often boys and girls practice these separately, but we have also made time for mixed-group activities which build our team spirit. Our whole-school sports’ day is when parents and carers can celebrate our pupils’ sporting achievements, and our school community, at the end of the school year.
Additional non-compulsory subjects
In addition to the wide range of academic subjects available to pupils via our curriculum, we also offer a range of additional non-compulsory subjects for secondary phase pupils.
At Maharishi School when students choose to study this AQA Computer Science GCSE course they develop real-world programming skills while achieving a deep understanding of the fundamental principles of computing. Computer Science is taught as an elective between 16:00 and 18:00, one afternoon a week, in which students can enrol from years 8, 9 or 10.
The course includes computational thinking, algorithms, network protocols and topologies, data structures, software design, programming structures, etc. This provides an academically challenging syllabus for self-motivated students with a passion for computing.
Pupils in Year 11 may opt to also study GCSE Photography. This is an extra-curricular after school club for which there is a weekly fee.
Pupils from Year 8 onwards have the option to attend an after school Spanish Club.