A NEW school offering alternative education to children, including classes in meditation and vegetarianism, is to open this week.

The new Epicquest School is the brainchild of teacher Julian Esposito, 37, who says many children are being failed by mainstream education.

The Leigh school will be putting on three-hour sessions in temporary buildings, while it seeks to find a permanent base and become a full time institution.

The school will teach about vegetarianism, meditation and judo, as well as traditional subjects for GCSEs in English, maths and science.

Mr Esposito, who has lived and worked in Southend for seven years, said: “There are too many children across the country who are being failed by mainstream schools.

“We need to find an alternative system by using alternative methods. I believe smaller class sizes with a more individual curriculum are the answer.”

Explaining the interest in vegetarianism, he added: “I think we’ve got a lot of problems in the meat industry and some of the chemicals put in children’s food cause them to lose their concentration.”

About 30 parents have expressed an interest in the school, for 11 to 18-year-olds, and attending it will cost £5 a session or £15 a month, not including materials.

It is hoped that donations will help lower the cost in future.

On Monday, the first three hour meeting of the “school” will take place at Friends’ Meeting House, 18 Dundonald Drive, Leigh, for parents interested in signing-up.

This will run from 3pm to 6pm. Another will be held on Wednesday afternoon in Southend. Judo sessions will also be taking place.

The school is looking at setting up a permanant base off the A127, at farmland near Hullbridge.

Mr Esposito added: “We’re in the process of buying a piece of land and the idea will be to use that as a base.

“We’ll be using that for teaching argriculture, permaculture, teaching children how to grow vegetables and we’ll complete more practical sessions there.”

Prospective parents and teachers can find out more information at epicquest.co.uk