New Practical Spirituality and Wellness Qualification

Crossfields Institute and the Spiritual Companions Trust are delighted to announce the launch of the first Ofqual regulated qualification in England in practical spirituality and wellness. The new Crossfields Institute Level 3 Diploma in Practical Spirituality and Wellness (VRQ) is now available for learners to register.

The qualification is designed for learners clarify and implement their own spiritual wellbeing practice, which then provides the foundation for supporting and enabling others. The qualification emphasises the development of maturity, autonomy and self-management.

The Spiritual Companions Trust is an educational charity. They develop resources and programmes at the interface of health, wellbeing and spirituality.

Crossfields Institute is a Gloucestershire based education charity, specialising in the development niche qualifications for providers with a particular vision or ethos. The Institute is also approved by Ofqual (the regulator of qualifications, exams and assessments in England) as an awarding organisation.

Any learners who are interested in finding out more about this qualification should contact the Spiritual Companions Trust 01458 555008

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Agriculture in the UK post Brexit

Text: The dust has certainly been stirred up in the UK agriculture sector following the Brexit result of last Thursday. In my last blog post the big issue was the fate of Roundup and glyphosates in the EU – the renewal of the licence for these being delayed and a decision will rest on further study of potential negative effects of glyphosate in the food chain. A significant role, from an agroecological perspective, that has been played by the EU is the regulation of GMO’s and many member states have opted out of growing GMO’s. It remains to be seen what emerges in a Brexit UK. The NFU states on their website that farmers in the UK have been frustrated by an “excessive use of the precautionary principle” (see – article of 24.06.2016). Now that the vote has been cast what does this mean for consumers, who will want to be sure that developments in agriculture continue to be carefully scrutinized?

Failing Beautifully

Interested to read Lucy Clark’s Beautiful Failures, a reflection on the failure of one-size-fits-all schooling and the impact on young people’s mental health. Read Lucy’s account here:

‘When my daughter failed school, it was unexpected.’ Picture posed by model. Photograph: Phovoir/Alamy

Serious concern about UK soils!

On Sunday June 12th the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Agroecology (APPG Agroecology) published a report on their website ( highlighting the fact that “the national picture on soil health is deplorably lacking, and there are currently no assessment plans, despite the Government commitment to ensure that all soils are managed sustainably by 2030”. Go to the APPG Agroecology website to see the full reports. The importance of fostering good soil health is clearly an area in which much more research and education needs to be undertaken. Holistic approaches to agroecology (such as permaculture, biodynamics, organics) have long acknowledged that healthy soil is the basis to sound agroecological practices, and the basis for healthy food. Crossfields International is keen to support research and education in how to develop and maintain soil health, which we are doing through supporting a number of international postgraduate students in their agroecological studies.

Could Steiner schools have a point on children, tablets and tech?

Interesting article yesterday in the Guardian, questioning the overuse of technology in schools and asking whether Steiner schools have the right approach. We believe that technology has its place in classrooms, but that the early years particularly should involve young people learning through making and doing.

Maria Woolley with her class at the Iona school in Nottingham, a Steiner school that rejects the use of tablets and computers. Photograph: David Sillitoe for the Guardian

Affirming Introverts: the Power of Quiet

2898In 2012 Susan Cain brought a sense of affirmation and recognition to millions of introverts worldwide with her TED talk and book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking. She has now written a book specifically for young people, Quiet Power, prompted by the huge response she had from adults and young people talking about how much harder adolescence can be for those with introverted personalities. Read about her book and inspiration here:

Glyphosate ban?

Photograph: Denis Balibouse/Reuters

It is reported in the Guardian this week (Recall of Monsanto’s Roundup likely as EU refuses limited use of glyphosate; Monday June 6) that a renewal of a licence for Roundup and other glyphosate-based weed killers is not going to be as straightforward as it’s producers would hope. There is growing concern about the hazards of glyphosates for the environment and indications of potential toxicity for humans, which is contributing to the potential that it will have to be withdrawn from sale and use. From an Agroecological perspective it is high time we took seriously more sustainable approaches to agriculture – shifting from those based on manipulation to those with an ethos of stewardship. Perhaps it is also time to redirect some of the vast amounts of money invested in chemical, industrial scale agriculture into some of the options that are better for both the environment and people?

Holistic thinking and dyslexia

In an excellent blog from Joe Atkinson of the Permaculture Association Joe explores why permaculture courses seem to attract a higher than usual proportion of people with dyslexia. He includes some very interesting video links about dyslexia and creativity and, especially interesting for us, whether the learning processes of people with dyslexia are particularly helpful for thinking holistically and appreciating a holistic view. This way of thinking is important for permaculture but also the other areas that Crossfields Institute covers.