In January of 1969, three educators and two teenage students moved into a cold, slightly neglected Georgian manor house and set about cleaning and renovating it, and so began Brockwood Park School. They were assisted by volunteers and well-wishers and by the beginning of the new academic year in September, the school had grown to over 20 residents. These simple beginnings belie the careful thinking and planning about the creation of a Krishnamurti School in Europe, which had been occurring for a number of years. Krishnamurti had already founded successful schools in India and now a resurgence of interest in his teachings meant that concerned parents and educators were ready for such a venture.
Brockwood was to be a very different school from the outset, with all its uncommon elements integral to the whole. The school would not operate for financial gain, nor would it be supported by the state; it would depend on fees and donations by those who felt the value of what was occurring there. Wherever needed and possible, bursaries would be provided for deserving students. All residential members of staff – whether academic, gardening, kitchen, office, maintenance – would receive the same modest salary and have the same basic responsibility as educators. The task of coordinating the whole was assumed by the principal/s, but important decisions were only to be taken after full discussion by staff and students.
The school would be international (students and staff now attend from 25 countries, or more) and small, not exceeding around 100 residents in total. These two factors would ensure that everyone living at Brockwood would learn how to meet others from different backgrounds and resolve any difficulties arising in a spirit of mutual consideration and affection, and there would not be so many people as to require an institutional approach to school life.
A high staff-student ratio would be maintained and each student would be given as much individual attention as possible. The academic work of the school was important and was to be pursued in a serious way, but the main point of Brockwood, its deeper purpose, lay in the intentions, as outlined by Krishnamurti. These intentions underpinned the central concern of Brockwood: to what degree could a community of staff and students, living and learning together, free themselves from the background of destructive conditioning?
J. Krishnamurti (1895-1986) had a passion for inquiry and the pursuit of truth. His numerous books explore the nature of human consciousness and the possibility of its transformation through inquiry and insight. Krishnamurti engaged in dialogue with many modern thinkers, commentators, politicians and scientists, including Aldous Huxley, Iris Murdoch, Ivan Illich, Bernard Levin, Indira Gandhi, and David Bohm. He maintained that if young people learn to see how they are conditioned by race, nationality, religion, tradition and beliefs, they will discover for themselves how to be fully intelligent human beings.
Concerning life at Brockwood, Krishnamurti said, ‘We are learning together. That is real cooperation, that is real community. That demands natural affection, care, attention.’
THE INTENTIONS OF BROCKWOOD PARK SCHOOL, STATED IN KRISHNAMURTI’S MANY PUBLIC TALKS AND BOOKS, CAN BE SUMMARISED AS FOLLOWS:
Our staff are drawn to Brockwood from around the world. They bring with them an impressive range of experience, skills, and qualifications, and they share a passion for education and inquiry that helps make the school unique.
Brockwood Park was purchased by the Krishnamurti Foundation in 1969. Chosen for its peaceful yet accessible location in the South Downs, it provides the ideal setting for inquiry into the whole of life. The four elements of Brockwood Park complement each other and form a unique whole: Brockwood Park School for teenage boarding students from all over the world, the Krishnamurti Centre for adults to study the work of Krishnamurti, the Foundation which makes sure Krishnamurti’s teachings are available to those interested worldwide, and Inwoods Small School for primary day pupils. Staff and volunteers, together with students, live on-site in an atmosphere of exploration and cooperation.
Hampshire SO24 0LQ
Telephone: +44 1962 771 744
Company Registration No. 1055588
Registered Charity No. 312865
© Krishnamurti Foundation Trust Ltd