Daily Mail (UK): The Tories are in talks with film star Goldie Hawn to set up a state school in Britain which would promote meditation as a way of boosting knowledge.
As part of Conservative plans to ‘shake up’ the education system, shadow schools secretary Michael Gove has met with the Hollywood actress to discuss her ‘MindUp’ teaching programme which she promotes through her charity the Hawn Foundation.
Mr Gove said Hawn was keen to set up a school in the UK. Her unorthodox teaching method is used in some U.S. schools to improve concentration and incorporates eastern meditation.
The technique promotes breathing exercises to help boost knowledge and concentration.
‘We are going to have another meeting to discuss how she might be able to help and influence education here,’ Mr Gove told the Sunday Times.
‘We need more new schools outside local authority control to challenge the bureaucratic monopoly.’
He said he could not see a barrier to her opening a school in the UK.
‘Some parents would want a rigorous traditional academic education for their children with desks neatly marshalled and traditional football,’ he told the Sunday Times.
‘Others will want something that is more flexible, more imaginative.’
Hawn, the 64-year-old star of films including Private Benjamin, Overboard and Bird on a Wire, describes herself as a ‘Jewish-Buddhist’ and says her foundation is dedicated to promoting children’s success in school through ‘social and emotional learning.’
The curriculum is designed for children from K to 7 and includes fifteen lessons across four units which include titles such as Quieting the Mind: Sharpening the Focus and Mindful of Ourselves in the World.
Michael Gove’s education reform bill includes plans to give charities and churches the power to set up state schools
Mr Gove also revealed he was in talks with the French government and a Swedish education chain to set up state schools in Britain.
The negotiations include plans for a school based on the private institution Lycee Fracais, in South Kensington, which provides French education for expatriates and British parents who want their children to grow up bilingual.
‘We hope that the French lycée in London will be able to expand,’ said Mr Gove.
‘I have been in talks with the French education minister and I know the lycée is exploring sites in London. Under our plans you could have UK citizens sending their children to the lycée at no cost because it would be fully integrated into the state sector.’
Mr Gove’s education reform bill also includes plans for charities, churches and parents’ groups to be given the freedom to set up schools in the state sector.
The new schools would be given £5,000 for each pupil they attract and would receive a premium for each student from an under privileged background.