About  »  Ethos
All schools in the Avanti Schools Trust prepare pupils for their respective life-journeys by promoting educational excellence, character formation and spiritual insight.

Avanti schools are Hindu faith schools which welcome children from all backgrounds. The schools are operated by the Avanti Schools Trust and the designated religious authority is the iFoundation.

Both the Trust and the religious authority are inspired by and draw upon the teachings of Krishna Chaitanya, part of the same religious tradition as ISKCON, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. This means that the nature of Collective Worship and Religious Studies will be broadly reflective of the practices and teachings of ISKCON. The Trust and religious authority are independent legal entities and they may choose to collaborate with ISKCON in instances which will benefit the Avanti schools.

 

Educational Excellence

An emphasis on independent thought and personal choice fans every pupil's innate and emerging passion for learning. Our personalised approach provides tailor-made learning paths for all pupils. This motivates and enables all pupils to become reflective, articulate and independent thinkers, laying solid foundations for their future learning, vocation and self-fulfilment. Our approach is characterised by a mentorship and academic support system that is delivered in close partnership with parents.

 

Character Formation

Trust schools prepare pupils to take their places as loyal, responsible and broad-minded British citizens. Our ethos acknowledges that personal virtue, responsibility and a wholesome sense of identity underpin success in all endeavours. It nurtures conduct consistent with the universal virtues of respect, integrity, humility, courage, empathy, gratitude and self-discipline. Trust schools promote holistic, responsible lifestyles through a vegetarian diet, a curriculum that integrates yoga and meditation and a built environment that actively fosters environmental concern.

 

Spiritual Insight

The development of spiritual insight is at the heart of the curriculum and draws on the teachings of Krishna Chaitanya [1], which embrace a universal, inclusive approach to spirituality, aimed at rekindling a personal, loving and spontaneous relationship with the divine (Krishna). The curriculum offers opportunities to explore the philosophies and traditions of different faiths. Collective worship includes the following practices: kirtan [2], meditation [3], worship [4], reflection, song, prayer, and story-telling [5].

 

How we achieve our Ethos

Educational excellence will be achieved through:

  • Happy and fulfilled learners and teachers.

  • Highly-skilled and actively engaged leadership and governance, dedicated to continuous improvement and to realisation of the school's distinctive vision and ethos.

  • A broad and challenging curriculum focused on core skills and subjects.

  • Continuous development of the professional knowledge and skill of all staff, and adequate respect for their professional discretion and integrity.

  • Staff with high expectations, convinced that every child is both uniquely gifted and has identifiable areas for improvement.

  • Personalised targets and learning paths for all pupils, supported by thorough, learner-focussed mentorship and effective ICT systems.

  • Provision of subject and qualification choice, ensuring that each learner maximises his or her talents and never becomes lost.

  • Provision of a broad, flexible and challenging curriculum that allows students to develop in the direction best suited to them, at their own pace, and which promotes realisation of their full potential.

  • Curriculum that includes a focus on ethics, philosophy, the creative and performing arts, and valuable cultures of ancient and contemporary civilizations.

  • Values-based approach to the humanities and its emphasis on the artistic and spiritual realms.

  • The study of Sanskrit [6] as the root of almost all eastern and western languages.

  • Progress-tracking using rigorous intra-year staff assessment, self and peer assessment, formative assessment, detailed reporting, and – as needed – early intervention and support classes.

  • Lessons designed to be relevant to students’ lives, to develop learning and questioning skills, and to deepen motivation, understanding and personal insight.

  • Partnerships with universities, links with businesses, and opportunities for apprenticeships and work-related learning.

  • Sincere and committed engagement of parents (and other family members) as co-educators.

 

Character formation will be achieved through:

  • A curriculum that challenges students to reflect, think for themselves, explore the links between character and conduct, develop moral literacy and make their own well-informed lifestyle choices.

  • Empowerment of students to empathise with others and to deeply reflect on their own choices and their social and personal impacts.

  • Dedication to community cohesion, especially through service to the community and active partnership with other social, charity and community-based groups.

  • Encouraging students to adopt conscientious and balanced lifestyles, underpinned by a sense of stewardship and an innate reverence for life, nature and the earth’s resources.

  • Provision of classes in yoga and meditation, and a vegetarian diet that is healthy and freshly cooked.

  • Clean, uncluttered and sustainable learning environments that support the school’s emphasis on mindfulness.

  • Working collaboratively with the wider community, especially partner public agencies.

  • Visits to diverse sacred places and educational venues.

  • A broad offering of competitive and non-competitive sports, both within the curriculum and as extra-curricular opportunities.

  • Opportunities for developing leadership, team building and personal integrity through partnerships with other organisations.

  • Dedication to leadership at every level and nurture of students’ voice and involvement, up to Governance level.

 

Spiritual insight will be achieved through:

  • Positive and uplifting experiences of RE and Collective Worship.

  • The singing of the names of the divine, with special but not exclusive focus on Krishna.
  • Opportunities for self-discovery and spiritual exploration.

  • Effective pastoral care that supports each student’s personal, emotional and spiritual journey.

  • Dedication to working in partnership with other faith schools/organisations to provide students an authentic experience of diverse spiritual traditions.

  • Recognition that all of the world’s great spiritual traditions represent the divinity in their distinctive ways.

  • Authentic understanding of the worldviews underpinning various manifestations of religion and spirituality, with stress on their shared essence: a loving reciprocal and personal relationship with the divine.

  • Exploration of faith and spirituality across different traditions in a probing and dialogic manner, with constructive critique of practices, philosophies and epistemologies to promote honest and empathetic dialogue.

  • Encouragement of students to develop a broad-minded perspective by acknowledging the key roles of free choice, fidelity to tradition and exemplary role models.

  • The warm and welcoming enrolment of young people from all backgrounds.

  • Preparation of students to make up their own minds on issues of faith and belonging, religious and otherwise. [7]

  • Rekindling of an awareness of an essential spiritual identity that unites all living beings, transcending all designations related to age, race, gender, species, faith affiliation and ability.

 


[1] Our ethos draws from the teachings of Chaitanya. He was born in 1486 in Nadiya, then East India’s epicentre for learning and scholarship. At an early age he founded what quickly became the region’s foremost school, widely renowned for its teaching in logic, grammar and rhetoric. He went on to lead an early civil disobedience movement, contesting religious sectarianism. In later life, he turned his attention to spiritual ideals that transcended social and religious boundaries and thus paved the way for a great spiritual renaissance. He taught that the essence of education is to appreciate how everything has a special relationship with the divine. Such understanding culminates in a profound spiritual realisation of love, compassion and selflessness - the original, pure nature of every being. He emphasised spiritual equality and advocated that humanity can be united through a shared love of God, expressed through the singing of His many names. Chaitanya’s exemplary life heralded the dawn of an inclusive spiritual resurgence that continues to inspire people from all faiths.
[2] Kirtan is the call/response singing of Krishna’s names.
[3] Learning to be still, be aware, breath deeply and visualise; often involving the use of mantras (sacred sounds, including chanting God’s names).
[4] Worship at a Krishna shrine, often involving the offering of flowers.
[5] Songs, prayers and stories may be drawn from various traditions but are in concurrence with the teachings of Chaitanya.
[6] Sanskrit is as close as we can get to an essential language and contains divine concepts, a flawless system of grammar and gives access to the great eastern texts such as the Bhagavad Gita.
[7] This element of the school’s work will become increasingly more sophisticated as the pupils grow in experience and maturity, but it will be an entitlement for all.

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