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Self-help for the 'wounded learners'

A FIRMOF business consultants is recruiting British pupils for a new pound;3 million school which aims to mix traditional education with techniques taken straight from the world of corporate training.

Inspired by American self-help guru Stephen Covey, author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Sotogrande school in southern Spain promises to "create the habits of personal effectiveness" necessary for successful students.

The consultants Speakers International Franklin Covey - part of Mr Covey's training empire - enthuse that "we become 1,000 per cent better by doing 1,000 things 1 per cent better".

Sotogrande's director Paul Templeton, a partner at Speakers International, describes his school's architecture as "creating almost a shopping mall feeling, rather than a school". But he insists that the combined secondary and primary school, which will open in September 2000, is not a frivolous project.

He said:"We have been quite successful in the corporate world and we think we can bring some different ways of thinking to conventional teaching."

Sotogrande, built as a joint venture between Speakers International and the owners of the luxurious Sotogrande estate, 12 miles north of Gibraltar, will open with about 350 pupils. Boarders will be charged about pound;5,500 a year and offered the chance to take British GCSE and international baccalaureate exams.

Mr Templeton, who was head of London's Lansdown sixth-form crammer before joining Speakers International five years ago, said: "What I am hoping to see is us creating kids who are creative, think for themselves, use their right brain as well as their left brain. After being in the British world of learning for about 30 years, the thing I ask is, why do we have so many wounded learners?" He added: "In the corporate world we think about the process of learning and not just the content."

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