UK's first Buddhist school planned

The Press Association, July 22, 2008

Birmingham, UK -- Plans are in the pipeline for the UK's first Buddhist school, a Buddhist trust has revealed.

The Birmingham Buddhist Vihara Trust is hoping to set up a primary school to go with plans to form a Buddhist university in the city.

Ideas for the school are in their early stages but trust chairman John Beard said he hoped it would be a success.

He said: "We very much would like to have one and things are looking very positive. We're looking at a feasibility study at the moment which we will be carrying out ourselves.

"It would look at questions like would it be well-received, would we be able to make it work in terms of costing, location and would there be much of an opposition to it, which I would not think there would be."

Mr Beard said if it got the go-ahead it would be the first Buddhist school in the country.

He said it would be open to everyone - not just Buddhists - and would ideally take the form of a junior or infant school and could potentially also include a pre-school.

The school would teach the National Curriculum but would put special emphasis on "pastoral matters".

Mr Beard said they would be looking for Government-funding for the school if it got the go-ahead.

The Trust have already set up the Dhammatalaka Pagoda in Ladywood, Birmingham in 1998, as a Buddhist shrine, and place to study the faith. Plans are in hand to set up a form of university on the same site and Mr Beard said the school would be a natural progression from that.