Sussex Weald Initiative closed

It seems worth mentioning that the Steiner Academy Sussex Weald Initiative has now ended. The website now displays only this message;

We regret that this initiative is now closed.

This group made two applications and were turned down each time. The reason given was that they tried and failed to recruit a mainstream secondary teacher with leadership experience to the group.

They then began a third attempt which was abandoned in 2015.

Earlier this year they appealed for parents to contact them if they still wanted a Steiner style free school but this has clearly not come to anything, and it is a relief for those of us concerned about the welfare of children and families who accidently fall in to the Steiner trap to know that the danger has passed.

Setting up a school that is Steiner in all but name, and therefore would be free from the rules laid down by the Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship is a temptation for Steiner Initiative groups who realise rather late what they have got in to. The necessity for Eurythmy, Child Studies, anthroposophical training for teachers, and a handbook that mentions Atlantis, future epochs, the four temperaments and other such bizarre notions brings on a certain nervousness among those with an inquiring mind wondering what all this has to do with education.

The Stroud group abandoned formal Steiner identity and the use of the Steiner name just as they put in their second application, and this was of course turned down.

The recruiting problems experienced by existing Steiner academies have not eased, with the newest, in Bristol losing their Principal at the end of the last academic year after an unfavourable Ofsted report and bad reviews from unhappy parents. It has been a problem to find suitably experienced leadership staff with Steiner credentials to satisfy the SWSF, and crucially, to make the Steiner system measure up to the standards expected in education.

As inspections take place more and more Steiner schools have been found wanting. Some have closed, some are under threat and some are struggling. Parents regret their choice, and the DfE must shoulder the blame for these failures, after allowing such schools to open with public funding. This should never have happened in the first place .

The children of Sussex Weald are fortunate to have escaped.