According to the Stroud News and Journal today the campaigners for the proposed Steiner free school now have 900 children signed up.
I assume most families will have at least 2 children, so I guess that is around 450 families.
Looking at parenting websites like bathmums it seems people are willing to move to a town where there is a state-funded Steiner school, so some of the 450 families may come from outside the area.
The campaign group have a post on Anthroposophy and Education (written in August this year…)
Whilst extolling the virtues of Steiner’s “mystical truths” (anthroposophy) as beneficial in education, they simultaneously claim “We will neither promote nor teach anthroposophy.”
Why is this? Why do they think it necessary to make this claim? What do they think parents would object to?
They single out one aspect;
“…some of Steiner’s Anthroposophical writing relates to race and ethnicity. His ideas on race reflect the racism of the time and place in which he lived, and have been rejected within Steiner education.”
Steiner’s nasty opinions on differences between the races stem from his belief that human life began on Atlantis, and as I mentioned before, Atlantis features in the “Handbook for Waldorf Class Teachers”, on page 37. Anthroposophical teachers believe that some races of humans need to develop more “spiritually”, before they can become equal.
If the members of the campaign group really believe his views on race have been rejected, they are sadly misled. I suggest they get a copy of the handbook which is widely used in schools.
I have also drawn attention to how important reincarnation can be within the Steiner “ethos”, and how this can have an impact on school policy. The consequences for families from bullying can be devastating.
If the group are worried that parents will object to anthroposophy being used in school, why be a Steiner school?
If the school were to run devoid of anthroposophy, it would not be a Steiner school, would not be allowed to be called a Steiner school, and would not have anything to do with the SWSF.
From talking to someone manning the stall in the High Street, it seems she had been told (by anthroposophists?) the school “will not be in the SWSF”.
Well, I have news for you. The school WILL need to be accredited by the SWSF;
“Initiative groups intending to apply to the government via the “Free Schools/Academy route would need to apply for endorsement of their proposal by the SWSF before submitting their application to the Department for Education. Endorsement is additional to registration as an Interest Group & this should precede a “free school” application. Without endorsement, a free school would be in breach of the SWSF trademark & no such applications can be authorised. New publically-funded settings would follow the same path of accreditation as independent Steiner Waldorf settings.”
“Registration, including subscription, is prerequisite for any group wishing to use the title “Rudolf Steiner” or “Waldorf” with regard to their educational activity (Service Mark 1289689 registered in part A of the register covering educational services included in class 41 under the provisions of Act of Parliament)”
The SWSF give detailed descriptions of how Steiner schools must conform to their requirements. For example, schools must show that they carry out Child Studies and Eurythmy. They also need to show that they have “suitably qualified” teachers. We have already seen what is regarded as “suitably qualified” in Steiner terms.
Despite the belated attempts by the campaign group to deny they will be using anthroposophy in the proposed school, there is still a massive lack of information for families from the campaign group on exactly what being a Steiner school means.