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Wednesday, 18 October, 2000, 15:12 GMT 16:12 UK
Hypnotic approach to exams
Exam room
Hypnotists will focus pupils on getting good results next year
Hypnotism is to be used as a way of improving pupils' results.

Kirklees education authority in west Yorkshire is to begin an experiment this autumn to see whether group hypnosis can raise standards in school.

The authority's educational psychology service is inviting schools to take part in the study, which will try to focus children's minds on achieving higher results.

Exam results
Psychologists want pupils to be confident of good news in exam results
"We've already used hypnosis to help children with problems such as stress and depression - and we've been called in before to help individual pupils with exams," says senior educational psychologist and hypnotist, Dr Phil Jones.

"But now we want to apply hypnotism as an aid to raising standards on a wider scale - and tests and exams give us a defined goal."

The scheme, which will be entirely voluntary and from which parents can withdraw their children, will be for groups of children aged 10 and upwards.

Safety concerns

Without using any props or equipment, and using only the voice, the hypnotists will have three aims - to help pupils control stress, to improve self-esteem and to develop exam techniques such as making sure to read all the questions carefully.

But the Department for Education and Employment was unenthusiastic about the proposal, saying "this is not something that the department recommends".

"Schools must take responsible decisions about what is appropriate - for an issue like this, that should include getting parents' consent."

But Dr Jones rejects claims that hypnotism is unsafe, saying that "compared with other interventions, such as medicine", there were very few risks.

Dr Jones said the show-business approach of stage hypnotists had damaged the image of the procedure - but that responsible hypnotism was a very safe practice which was backed by longstanding international research.

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23 Mar 00 | Education
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The power of mind over matter
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