A Familiar Mantra

One of the members of the core team spearheading the Steiner free school “project” is pictured in Stroud Life this week with her baby, and was asked to explain more about her campaign.

It’s similar to a Prime Minister using his children to help his election campaign.

Well, clearly this person does not think the proposed school is a bad thing for Stroud.

That is either because she is ignorant of anthroposophy and how it is used in Steiner schools, or because she knows all about it and approves of it. If this is the case, she clearly does not think other parents have a right to know about it too.

I have asked her a couple of times why parents are not being told about anthoposophy and each time she repeats the mantra, used again in the interview,

“We neither teach nor promote anthroposophy.”

OK, so the message is “anthroposophy is bad, and we won’t use it”. She makes no attempt to explain what anthroposophy is when asked, beyond claiming it is “Rudolf Steiner’s own personal philosophy”.

“The school will be inclusive by making a distinction between his educational theory and his philosophical practice.”

This is not the truth. Steiner’s educational theory is part of anthroposophy. It has no other basis. His ideas on why children should be denied access to books until the age of 7 years are purely anthroposophical. It is to do with their spiritual development. It is also the reason why they are taught that Darwinian evolution is “reductionist” and “Victorian” and why Steiner prayers are said in school each day.  It is why child studies are carried out and why eurythmy is insisted upon by the SWSF.

The mother was asked this question in the interview;

Is it true that children learn to read at an older age than in mainstream? Why…?

But she does not answer. She merely compares Britain to other countries.

If anyone wants to know the answer – here it is

Another question did not get a truthful answer; “Will the school have qualified teaching staff?”

Answer; “We will always employ trained teachers…”.

Again this is not the whole truth. “Trained” teachers in Steiner schools means trained in anthroposophy. The courses are all about familiarising recruits with how to use anthroposophical art techniques and to follow Steiner’s very particular and highly suspect version of child development (spiritual development) Read more here.

These teachers are not qualified to teach in mainstream schools. Most Steiner schools do not require all teachers to be trained at all.

Question; What effect could this [school] have on existing schools in Stroud.?

Answer; no answer.

She simply criticises existing local schools ( a well-used Steiner technique).

If the school bid is successful, it will have a huge impact on education in Stroud. Aside from the objections raised here on this blog to the way Steiner schools affect children and families, many local people are concerned about the diversion of public money from much valued existing schools.

All in all I have to come to the conclusion that this mother is indeed very well aware of anthroposophy and how it is used in schools – her method of not answering  direct questions leads me to this.

If she is aware, she does not see fit to share the information with potential Steiner families . Perhaps she fears this would reduce the number of families signing up. If not enough sign up, she and others of a similar outlook/lifestyle will have to pay to send their children to another Steiner school in the area.

On the plus side, one such school is very close by, and the walls are already painted exactly the stipulated shade of peach.

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4 comments

  1. ****

    Hi Helen, hope you are ok. Just to say, this post is libellous. I would really like you to take my name off this as you have made incorrect and defamatory assertions about me with no other basis than your own misguided opinion. I would ask that you remove the post or my name. I’m all for free speech and of course you can hold whatever opinions you choose. However, when something is libellous it really is crossing the line. Should you wish to keep the post with the above references to myself, I shall be unfortunately forced to contact my lawyer. You must know as you write your incorrect assumptions that in a court of law you would be obliged to prove your allegations and if you cannot, then damages are unlimited. I hope you understand, I would much rather you keep your comments in the impersonal rather than have to drag out a case in the courts. Best wishes for the New Year,****

    • Helen

      I do not wish to be taken to court (although I would be in good company) so I have removed one sentence from the post which, although I do not consider it libellous, I guess you may not like. I don’t want to hurt people’s feelings, but I do want local people to know the whole truth about Steiner schools.
      I have removed the name from the post and also removed the name from the comment. I will remove the comment too if you don’t want it here.
      I do wonder which “assumption” I have made is wrong. It would be interesting for readers to know too. Surely someone who doesn’t know about how anthroposophy is used in Steiner schools would not be wanting to set one up. They would have done some research first.
      Also, why isn’t anthroposophy in the leaflets, since it is central to the way teachers work?

  2. Jim

    Legal threats from a Steiner supporter? How unusual.

    I’d agree with avoiding the personal unless quoting public statements though for the life of me I cannot see what was supposed to be libellous, nor does the commenter make it clear.

  3. MarkH

    It might interest readers to look at the details of the new Defamation Act 2013. One of the more important changes is that it clarifies the way in which a defence can be based on the statements made being on a subject of public interest. In particular, this line of defence must now be considered independently of any attempt (or even lack of attempt) at establishing the truth of what has been said.

    Not that I think anybody here actually wants to test this out in a court!

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