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John Scottus

Primary School

Secondary School


"Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire."
William Butler Yeats  

John Scottus School was set up in 1986 by a number of parents who wished their own children to be educated in the light of the philosophical principles which they were meeting in their studies in the School of Philosophy and Economic Science in Dublin. The School of Philosophy offers evening courses in practical philosophy to adults. The photograph above shows the founding class of pupils, aged 4-8 years, with one their teachers two, Dr. Michael Telford. He along with the other founding teacher Mrs. Mary Telford are Headmaster of the Secondary School and the Principal of the Primary School, respectively.

The educational principal upon which John Scottus School is founded is that everyone is in essence pure, perfect and complete. The provision of good material and good company are key elements so that a connection with this inner essence can be made so as to allow it to grow. In its essence the ethos is simple yet radical - to have a ‘spiritual dimension’ as the core educational value of the school.

The purpose of this spiritual factor is to enable children to uncover their true identity and in doing so express their function and connect fully with humanity. With this focus, all aspects of their education and development will have coherence and a significant purpose that will ultimately determine how they live their lives. The aim of John Scottus School is to provide its vision of education to all who desire it, regardless of race, creed or social background.

The principles which underpin this ethos are inspired by the knowledge expounded by Leon McLaren, founder of the School of Philosophy, following his meetings over a period of thirty years with the well respected Indian sage, Shantananda Saraswati.

In 1999, the Primary School received recognition as a National School from the Department of Education and Science. In 2000, the Secondary School was also recognised by the Department as a Voluntary Secondary School. Thus, the Primary and Secondary schools are funded in part by the Department of Education and Science.

Besides the Department funding of many of the Schools’ teachers, financial support for the Schools comes from voluntary contributions from parents (Primary), fees in the Secondary school, generous support from the School of Philosophy and several fund-raising activities. The Secondary School is a fee paying school.

John Scottus School is a multi-denominational school but does acknowledge the importance of the Christian tradition which has provided the bedrock of Western civilisation. The school is named in honour of the Irish philosopher John Scottus Eriugena who brought a Platonic influence to bear on Christianity. The Socratic dictate “Know Thyself” and the Socratic method of inquiry are important influences in John Scottus School which regards itself as being part of the long European tradition of liberal education.

The Primary School is currently located in Northumberland Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4 and the Secondary School is close by on Morehampton Road, Donnybrook – Dublin 4.

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Links To Affiliated Schools Worldwide

There are a number of "sister schools" around the world who adhere to the same educational principles as John Scottus. The first to be set up, in 1975, was St. James' Independent School in London.