The opposition to the proposed Stroud Steiner Free School grows apace.
On Friday a large crowd (although probably not the 200 mentioned in the local papers) gathered to make their feelings known to Michael Gove who visited one of the excellent secondary schools here in Stroud.
Among the crowd were many who wanted to protest about the free school, as well as one or two who just “hate Gove”, and some students objecting to changes in assessment methods for GCSEs – no more January exams.
Mr Gove managed to avoid meeting any local people outside the school by going in the back way – tipped off before arrival, I guess.
The Education Minister is quoted in the papers as saying “Before any free school is accepted we always think about the impact on other existing schools”.
There are now so many reasons why this school is not wanted here. Some fear for the survival of their local primary or secondary school, if it is no longer viable after the parents who like the idea of Steiner have walked to wherever the new school may be.
Others have found out a little more about anthroposophy and decided maybe they don’t like the idea of an occult education for local children so much after all.
And there also those who object to the Steiner free school because it will “eat away the Christian ethos” they hold dear. (SNJ yesterday)
It seems there is more awareness about the impact the proposed school would have on the town and maybe about the Steiner belief system generally. There is also a realisation that this school is not just the concern of parents of small children, but of every single person in Stroud. The proposal has now been submitted to the government for approval, so let’s hope this awareness has not come too late.
A small town can’t just absorb a school like this without its impact being felt by all. Whatever the decision from Westminster, I hope we won’t have sleepwalked our way to becoming an even bigger state-funded Steiner centre in the UK.