Mysterious Liechtenstein charity splashes cash on British schools. Again

5th March 2010 at 00:00
The royal family-associated Medicor Foundation's second subsidy is for a state 'resilience' course

A mysterious foundation based in the tiny Alpine country of Liechtenstein is to make a further charitable cash contribution to English state education, it has emerged.

The Medicor Foundation, which has connections with the Liechtenstein royal family, has donated #163;50,000 to subsidise places for 50 state school teachers on a course into how to teach "resilience", considered a key part of the well-being curriculum.

The charity funds social projects worldwide, but it became known in Britain in 2008 after it made an anonymous #163;1 million donation to City University to help it sponsor the City of London Academy, which replaced Islington Green.

City University was eventually forced to name its backer after suggestions that an anonymous organisation could be attempting to "buy" influence in a school.

The Foundation, set up by an unnamed wealthy Swiss family, has agreed to pay two-thirds of the cost of the #163;1,500 course entitled "Developing Resilient Teenagers: A course for teachers in well-being and positive psychology."

The week-long programme, led by trainers from the University of Pennsylvania, will teach techniques to "help young people cope better with the opportunities and challenges of the teenage years".

Teaching staff, management, governors and anyone working directly with young people are expected to attend the event, which lasts from July 5 to July 10.

The course is based at Wellington College in Berkshire, the school that has famously pioneered pupil well-being in the form of "happiness lessons".

Ian Morris, head of well-being at Wellington, said funding had been secured from Medicor via a parent with links with the foundation.

He added: "It is important that all teachers are aware of this aspect of well-being. Resilience is the skill of bouncing back from adversity, and all teachers and pupils encounter situations where this becomes vital."

Fortunat Walther, executive director of Medicor, said the wealthy family behind the foundation did not like to seek publicity.

"We just want to support the teachers in state schools to do their job better," he added.

News of the course comes just weeks after Wellington College announced it is to introduce its "happiness" curriculum to three new branches of the school in China.

The first branch, in the northern city of Tianjin, is due to open to the children of international ex-pats in 2011.

- For details of the resilience classes, email Tarla Woolhouse at tw@wellingtoncollege.org.uk

LIECHTENSTEIN FACTS

Government: parliamentary democracy under a constitutional monarchy

Location: between Austria and Switzerland

Population: 35,356

Capital: Vaduz

Official language: German

Currency: Swiss franc

Famous industries: banking and financial services, false teeth, stamps.

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