The well-known UK Gurukula started in the 1980s at Chaitanya College and later housed at the Bhaktivedanta Manor has moved to nearby Hartspring Cottages with a new leader and a positive focus on the future.
After facing multiple challenges, a group of devotees came together in 2019 to secure the future of the UK Gurukula, as it had been serving the Bhaktivedanta Manor community for over 30 years. A charity called “The Gurukula Trust” was established to take on the school’s proprietorship, while restructuring and a recruitment drive to attract qualified devotee teachers also began. Gunacuda Dasi, who has extensive teaching experience in the UK and was previously the headteacher at Sri Mayapur International School, was appointed the new headteacher. An agreement was also made with the Bhaktivedanta Manor to continue to house the school.
Under the new leadership, the school received a “good” rating from the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (OFSTED) in 2022. The gurukula has specific policies which meet the government guidelines and are updated regularly. These are written by the headteacher and published on the official сайт..
ISKCON News spoke with Gunacuda Dasi, the headteacher of UK Gurukula, who revealed many interesting facts about the school. She said, “We hope to increase our student numbers to capacity, and all our staff members undergo continuing professional development to give the children a chance to have the best education we can provide.”
The gurukula staff are all practicing Vaishnavas who believe strongly in the importance of a Krishna-conscious education. Gunacuda said, “The teachers understand that this is the school of Srila Prabhupada and have daily classes based on the teachings of our parampara.”
In the curriculum, Vaishnava texts and philosophy are interwoven with the subjects offered in the National Curriculum for England and Wales. Only so many children are in one class to ensure learning is more personal. This concept is called Personalized Learning. Underpinning the vision of personalized learning in a spiritual environment, there are eight values that fulfill the mission of the gurukula.
Gunacuda continued, “The gurukula has three rules to encourage good Vaishnava behavior: Be ready, respectful, and responsible. The student council members help to ensure that the children understand how these can be lived, and the older children help play with the younger ones during break times. We have after-school clubs where the children learn drama, football, art, yoga, crochet/knitting, gardening, and chess.”
The UK Gurukula is also working with a devotee-led charity that operates on the gurukula grounds and organizes activities for older children.
There are various ways in which you can contribute to the UK Gurukula. You can now become their patron or give any donations of your choice. “We are not asking for these additional funds to come from just the parent community, but from the devotee community at large,” said Mohan Luthra, Chairman of the Gurukula Trust, “We have started a patron program where families can become a mini patron donating £600 annually or £50 per month, or a standard patron at £1,008 annually or £84 per month, or a maha patron for those individuals who can give £5,000 a year or more.”
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Sunanda Das, TOVP Communications Director